To My Babies… The Hardest Letter I will ever write to you

For My Babies, Love

Out of all the things I’ve wanted to say to you during your little lives, this was a letter I never thought I would write to you, nor would I ever, ever want to. Our family is going through such a hard time now. Your father, who we all loved so deeply, died in a motorcycle accident at the young age of 45. I never, ever wanted you (or anyone, for that matter) to experience such tragedy. Most days I still can’t comprehend the idea that he is no longer living with us. How such a beautiful light could just go out so quickly is beyond my comprehension. And his poor, sweet children. Rowan is 3 (going on 16), Dylan is 6, Sebastian is 12, Sarah is 15, and Justin is 26. He loved you all so much. The love that I shared with your father was passionate, deep, strong, and sometimes crazy. But we were most beautiful when we were all together as a family. We truly made such a beautiful family.

I love him and miss him so much. I cry so many times just at the thought of not ever being able to hold him, talk to him, laugh with him, kiss him, and go through with all the crazy plans we had for life with him. But it is really all of his kids that my heart breaks for most. There are so many things that make the situation so tragic. From the idea of my love being injured and hurt so bad that his life was lost in the blink of an eye, to the fact of someone so charismatic, funny, talented, charming, and hard-working no longer living amongst us. To how many people loved him and are truly devastated by this loss. But the worst is for his beautiful children who lost their beautiful father. My heart breaks the most for all of you.

Dylan and Rowan, I know you both hurt so bad over this, and yet, you are so young that I can’t imagine that you really understand what’s going on. I hate the fact that you only had him in your life for such a short time. Dylan, you have always been a happy child. You are just as playfully mischievous as your father. But I know you are hurting right now. You don’t talk about it much. You talk about Daddy in good ways. You’ll talk about random stories about him, but you don’t talk about your pain or even how much you miss him. I’m pretty sure your strong little heart is just trying to be brave and keep going. Rowan, I know you don’t really understand at 3 years old what has happened. You just know that Daddy’s not here and you miss him. You tell me so many times a day how you want Daddy. It breaks my heart that I can’t give him to you. I found one of his t-shirts the other day that he wore frequently. It hadn’t been washed, and it still smelt like him. I rubbed my face in it and clung to it. A while later that day, you were upset about something, and I remembered the t-shirt. I gave it to you and told you to smell it. You stuck your face in it, and all the sudden you lit up. “Daddy’s shirt!” you exclaimed. It made you feel so good, just to smell his scent and hold that old cotton t-shirt. You carried the shirt around for days. I finally put it up, in the hopes it might hold on to his scent a little while longer so that I could give it to you when you start to get sad and missing him.

We were in the car today; Dylan, Rowan, and I. Rowan, you had just gotten an Elsa doll that sings “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen. As you were sitting in the backseat singing along, I had a sudden memory of your dad singing that song with you. He was really the one that got you singing it in the first place, when you were only like 2 years old. You would start to sing it, and then your dad would start singing along with you, loud and proud. You loved it. He used to sing it with you all the time. We all did. But your dad was the one that really started it. As the memory hit me while we were driving in the car, I started to get a little emotional. I turned and asked you, Dylan, if you remembered Daddy always singing that song with Rowan. You smiled sheepishly and sweetly and said yes, and I could tell you really did remember, too. I asked you how you were doing. “I’m good”, you replied, as is a pretty normal response for you. I asked you if you miss Daddy. You said yes. I was thinking how I don’t ever really see you get visibly upset about losing daddy. I see you get upset, much more frequently than normal. I know you miss daddy, but you just don’t normally say that you miss daddy and it hurts. As I was asking you if you missed him and starting to tear up myself, I think you must have known my thoughts because  you simply said “My heart is crying.” It was the most honest, poetic, adult thing I’ve ever heard you say. I know your heart is crying, baby. And I am so sorry that all of you are having to go through this.

I love you. I love you all so much. And your Daddy does, too. He is watching over us, with a soul that is at peace, loving us, wanting us to be happy. But it still hurts so much. I pray for strength to be a good mama to you throughout all of your lives. I want you to know how many people have loved and supported us through this awful time. I want you to know that there is still so much beauty in the world and that we can still have beautiful lives, no matter the pain we feel from not being able to physically live it and share it with him. I want you to know that his beauty and everything about him still lives on in all of you and in every life that he touched, which was so many. And I pray that I may let him live on through me, all of his quirkiness and love of life, so that you can still grow up with that piece of him in your life.

I love you all so much. Out of all the amazing and beautiful things your dad did in life, the most precious are the beautiful children that he gave us. I am grateful for you that are mine by birth, and for my stepkids (who already have beautiful mamas that love them). You are all wonderful gifts to us from your father.

I love you always and forever.

To the moon and back. That’s what your dad always said.

Sincerely,

Your Mama

 

Another Love Letter To My Babies

For My Babies
My sweet babies. You have saved my life, again. You teach me new things everyday; about life, myself, love, parenthood, patience, joy, struggle, beauty, sweetness. Everything. You require so much from me that I am forced to stretch myself to my limits, but you give so much back in return, sometimes when I least expect it and always when I need it most.
I have been losing my mind lately. Not completely. Not insanely. I haven’t flipped out on anyone. I haven’t completely broken down. While there have been atleast a few days in the past week that I found it difficult to get out of bed, I still have done so and faced the day with a smile on my face most times. Not all times, to be sure. I partially blame it on stress, partially on hormones, and partially on past pain that sometimes still wraps around my heart.
We came home from a wonderful two week vacation that was full of fun, love, family, and adventure. I really needed a break when it was all said and done. A break to get our home back in order. A break before both Dylan and I went back to school. A break off of work to just have me-time and feed my soul after the two weeks of family-fun-adventure. But my schedule and our finances didn’t allow for that. I think that is when my psyche started to fall apart a bit. All of these circumstances came together to make a perfect storm for me to have a slight mental/emotional breakdown.
And it’s been just over seven years since we lost Dad. I think there might be something psychologically significant about that time frame. I think emotions that I was never capable of dealing with all at once, slowly seep out at times. And seven years is just one of those boiling points for me and my heart. So, when the stress started to build up, I went to talk to my Daddy in my mind and heart like I might normally do. But I couldn’t hear the sound of his voice. I couldn’t imagine what he would say. And it killed me. I have come to grips over the years with the fact that he is deceased, as shall be every person’s fate some day. I have learned to believe that he still lives inside me, an essential ingredient to the very essence that makes up who I am. But at that moment I couldn’t feel him. An equally terrible feeling came over me, too. No one can ever take his place.
And then my babies snuggled me. Then my two gorgeous children wanted nothing more in the world but to be by my side and tell me how much they love me. There are many others in my life who love me. Your daddy was also sweet and loving to me during this time. He told me he loved me and bought me flowers and cooked dinner and tried to not be afraid of the tears I cried. But it was the love that I received from my two sweet babies that really healed my heart (again).
Rowan, you are such a beautiful, smart, strong little girl. You tell me everyday how much you love me. Dylan, you are so sweet and loving. You just told me earlier tonight how I was the best mommy in the whole world and that me and Daddy were your most favorite mommy and daddy ever.
I have a painting on my bedroom wall with a quote on it that reads “To love and to be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” The love I share with you two is the epitome of this. It is your beauty that helps me to see the beauty inside myself. It is your sweet strength that reminds me of how strong I am. It is your powerful love that brings me back to the reality of how much love I have in my life.
I will have more moments in my life when I have to face sadness, stress, loss, grief. You will, too, my loves. But to face the feelings, to feel that pain, to cry those tears is not a sign of weakness. For after doing so, you may be stronger than ever before. During my moment of feeling sad and weak, your love helped mend my breaking heart. And I will love you forever and beyond. Thank you, my loves.
Sincerely,
Your adoring Mama

That Moment (to my children)

For My Babies, Poetry

that moment when I see you smile with unbridled joy
and the purity of your soul is so obvious it brings tears to my eyes
when your beauty not only lights up my world,
but also reminds me of the beauty inside myself
that moment when I am filled and overflowing with love for you
and I realize it is love like this that makes life worth living and makes all things possible

meandthekids

To Rowan and Dylan

For My Babies

My sweet babies. You’re both asleep right now. Finally. 😉 It’s been a long couple of days. I’ve changed my job positions so that I can make my own schedule in an attempt to spend more time with my family and be able to take care of you all and our home better without completely killing myself. Still, there are times when mama has to work. The past few days, not only did mama and daddy both have to work, but then Rowan was sick and the house was a mess. It’s been a week of fevers, tears, snuggling in bed, cuddling and watching cartoons on the couch, work for mama and daddy, cleaning the house, and more snuggling with the babies. It’s not always easy. Life is hard work sometimes. But it is worth it.
I try to remember that every day we have together is a gift. I am 35 years old right now. My father was 64 years old when he died suddenly of a massive heart attack. I think about how if my fate were the same, if I were lucky enough to have another 30 years with my family, it would still never, ever be enough. I want to be there to watch you go through life. To kiss away your tears and snuggle you while you are babies. To play with you and teach you through your childhood. To struggle with you, by your side, through the hard years of adolescence and teenager-dom. To watch you grow into adults and admire the ways you will develop into your own beautiful personalties. To share all the beauties and heartaches of life with you both. Love, loss, learning, exploring, college, careers, marriage, babies. All of it.
I want to be there for you in all of it and love you the whole way along. Because I do love you so much, both of you. And because life is hard sometimes. Sometimes all you need is that one person to love and support you. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that I will be able to do this. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. But my love for you is. The fact that this world is filled with beauty is guaranteed. The fact that my love for you will never die is a guarantee.
That is one of the reasons that I write these letters to you. Losing my own father so suddenly did one thing to me for sure. It made me realize forevermore that we never know what day may be our last. And I never want you to question or have to wonder how I felt about you both. You are everything to me. You are the most beautiful, amazing beings in the world as far as I am concerned. Please know this always.
Dylan you are five now and in kindergarten. You fuss sometimes about going to school, but you always have a great day when you’re there. You are so friendly. You could make friends with anyone. You do make friends anywhere we go. Your sweet, outgoing nature is one of your most beautiful characteristics. And you are such a smart and witty little boy.
Rowan, you are two right now. And you love your mama so much. Thank you. Thank you for all your sweet kisses and sudden, tender, loving embraces. You make me slow down when I’m rushing around in the world. When I’m not spending enough time playing with my babies. When I’m working and stressing too much. You make me stop. You remind me that the time I spend snuggling with you and your brother and enjoying your sweet love IS THE MOST IMPORTANT, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING IN MY LIFE. Thank you, baby girl. You are so beautiful and strong. I pray that I empower your beauty and strength and help support you in growing into the amazing young lady I know you are destined to be.
We spend most of our days playing around the house, mama cleaning or trying to get something done in between stopping to pay you two attention, give you love, or take care of whatever it is you are in need of. At the ages of five and two, you both frequently need something. It is alot of work. But it is the best work. You are both the pieces of me that will live on hopefully long after I am gone. You are by far the best things that I will leave in this world. I have other passions, endeavours, and obligations in life, but every bit of love and patience I can give to you is a seed of beauty planted in the world.
I tell you these things in the hopes that when you are someday in this same place, as I hope you will someday be (parents to my grandbabies, trying to find your way in the world while still being good, loving parents), you will have these words to remind you that I understand, that me and your daddy were once there, also. It is not always easy. But do the best you can. Be patient. Give yourself a break when you need it. Don’t be afraid to stop what you are doing and give love to the ones you love the most, even if that means taking off work or letting the house get a mess. These moments we have together to love one another are to be appreciated and cared for. Remember what is most important to you and don’t be afraid to put those people and things first in your life.
Everyday is a gift, a chance to bring joy and peace into your own life and into the lives of others. Do not take this life for granted. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Life can be hard at times, but remember that if you look for it, you will find the beauty. Be grateful for everyday and every beauty. Being able to appreciate the good things in life is the best way to keep more good things coming your way. You are beautiful. You are amazing. Your mama (and many others) love you so, so much. Be gentle with yourself. Love and take care of yourself first. It is not selfish to do so. It is the only way that you can truly love and take care of others.

“Accept yourself. Love yourself as you are. Your finest work, your best movements, your joy, peace, and healing comes when you love yourself. You give a great gift to the world when you do that. You give others permission to do the same: to love themselves. Revel in self-love. Roll in it. Bask in it as you would sunshine.” ~ Melodie Beattie

“To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self esteem, is capable of love – because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed value. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone” ~ Ayn Rand

Another reason that I write these letters to you is because writing is something I love. It’s what helps me reconnect to myself when life becomes overwhelming. It helps me to express myself and remember what I am most passionate about. It is what keeps me sane at times, or atleast as close to sanity as I can get. You will have these things in life, also. Things that bring you joy and peace and remind you of who you are. Do not neglect these things either. Whether it is writing, music, nature, art, wood working, reading, dancing, singing, meditation, spirituality, gardening. Or all of the above! Whatever it is that rejuvenates your spirit and brings peace to your psyche. Give time to these things. Take care of yourself: your mind, body, and spirit.

Thank you for all of your precious love. Thank you for inspiring me to be a better person. Thank you for your sweet kisses and warm snuggles. Thank you for your joy and bringing out the best in me.
I love you forever, and I am so proud to be your mama.
xoxo

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To Dylan and Rowan (because if you put it on the internet, it’s there forever)

For My Babies, writing
My sweet, beautiful babies, your mama loves you so much. Dylan, you are such a kind and gorgeous child. Your beautiful blue eyes remind me of both your father and of my father, also. They are the same brilliant, entrancing color and filled with the same characteristics of both of those wonderful men: your father’s playfulness and tender, kind-heartedness, and your grandfather’s trust-worthiness and never-ending love. I see this all in your charming demeanor. You were my first born, and it is mostly because of the love I share with you and your little sister that I have been able to heal at all from the pain of losing my own father. Your obvious unbridled love for me is what puts a smile on my face and in my heart, even during the worst of times.

Rowan, you are so gorgeous and sweet. I love you so much, and you show me everyday how much you love me in return. My baby girl, my precious daughter, your innocence and strength inspire me to be as beautiful and strong as my dreams will allow. Even at your young age, you are independent and courageous. I know that you will love life and understand the importance of seizing every day. Your creativity is already obvious, too. I have never seen a child so moved by music, nature, and beauty. I cannot wait to teach you and show you all the magnificence and wonder that is in the world, but I have a feeling you will end up showing me so much more.

You are both so young right now. Someday, if you ever do come across these letters, you will look back and remember your childhood, and I wonder what it will look like to you. Currently, most of our days are filled with normal things like Daddy going to work and me taking care of the house and all of you kiddos. I am working too, but it is only part-time, which is still atleast 30 hours/week, but this is far less than I am used to. Since Rowan was born, I have tried to work less. It was hard enough to maintain my 40-60 hour work weeks when we only had Dylan and then also Sarah and Bastian part time. Once we had Rowan, though, I knew from the beginning that my career would be mostly put on hold, for a few years atleast. The time I spend with you all is way more important to me than how much money I bring home. I like to spend money, do fun things, and have nice things, but I also know that the more money you make, the more you spend, and that this can become a vicious cycle. A person without money can still be happy. Financial wealth is not a prerequisite for true happiness. However, a person who has sacrificed time away from the things that are most important to them for the sake of money will more than likely find themselves unfulfilled and regretful. I would rather us go without for a while, knowing that I spent these wonderful years of your childhood with you, than have lots of money and a ton of regret to go along with it. I will never regret having spent more time with you.

Sarah and Bastian are currently living with us also. The two of them are a beautiful blessing to have in our home. We do truly have a wonderful, sweet little family.  There is stress at times over normal things: occasional financial difficulties, the expected bickering amongst you kiddos, the stress of taking care of a home and young children. Your daddy and I love you all so much, though, and I hope that is what you see when you do look back on these years. And you babies adore your older siblings so much. I hope to nurture this throughout your life. Even if some of you are “only half” brothers and sisters, you are still a part of each other. Just because you have different mothers does not mean that you don’t greatly effect one another. Just because you don’t always live in the same house, does not mean you can’t have rewarding, lifelong relationships. All of my five brothers and sisters are “only half’ brothers and sisters, technically speaking. None of them have the exact same mother AND father as I do. Still, your aunts and uncles have all made such a difference in my life. I have never seen them as anything less than simply my siblings. They all mean so much to me, and each are special and amazing in their own way.
Hold on to your sibling relationships as best you can. Be there for one another when needed. Be a part of each other’s lives, even if life and circumstance take you other directions and away from one another. Who you are is a part of what lies in one another. You can find strength in each other. You can give strength to one another. Do not forget this, and do not take it for granted. This will not always be easy. It can be hard to make time for the ones you love, especially as your own individual families begin to grow. Just do the best you can to appreciate and preserve those relationships that have helped you grow and shaped who you are. I struggle with this myself. With five brothers and sisters, I’m sure I’m not nearly the sister that I could be. I am trying, though, and I hope that all my siblings know how much I love them and would do anything for them, regardless of the time or space that may stand in between us.
You are so wonderful and precious, my beautiful babies. I have complete faith that you will grow into extraordinary beings, just as you are so magnificent to me now. Find your way. Find your peace. Find your place in life. Be kind and honest along the way. Both of these things will assist you in finding your true path to happiness.
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
~Albert Pike
Know that I love you so much. I pray that my life reflects every lesson that I hope to teach you, but even as my imperfections may shine through, know that this does not make what I am telling you any less true.

You are everything to me, and I am so blessed to be your mama.

Yours truly and forever,
Your adoring mother,
Sandra Lea Highfill
XXOO

MAMA AND ROWAN

To Dylan and Rowan

For My Babies, writing

Someday, maybe you will both read this.  If and when you do, I hope this letter finds you both happy and healthy.  There are no words that can completely explain what it is that I feel for the two of you, everything you mean to me, and all the ways you have changed my life and me as a person.  But I shall try.

When I first found out I was pregnant with Dylan, I was in shock. I literally took four, maybe five, pregnancy tests.  They all came up positive, and I was still in disbelief.  At one point, your dad and I went to the drug store and I took one test (the third, I believe) in the bathroom at the store.  Back in the car, I read the results to your dad.  It was positive, of course.  I tossed the stick in the backseat and told your dad to go get me another one.  My shock remained through most of my pregnancy.  I remember at one point my mother telling me I was the most in denial pregnant girl she’d ever met.  I was about 6 months prego at the time.  It’s really not crazy, though, that I was so surprised. Your dad had already had a vasectomy… that apparently didn’t take.  I was 29 years old, had been previously married for a short time, had not been on birth control in years, and had still never gotten pregnant.  With all the “Fertile Myrtles” in our family, I was beginning to think I couldn’t have kids.  But, no, I was just destined to have you beautiful babies with your beautiful father.

The time when which Dylan was conceived and born was also the hardest time of my life to date.  My father had died of a sudden heart attack less than six months prior to me finding out I was pregnant.  Your grandpa was a kind, dependable, strong, trustworthy, honest, hard working man who loved his children and grandchildren very much.  Probably the biggest heart ache of my life thus far is knowing that my sweet babies were deprived of having such a wonderful person in your lives.

Someday, you will hopefully know the joy and sacrifice of having children.  It’s not easy.  It  is constant work to take care of someone else to the best of your ability, worried always that you’re doing something wrong and are somehow going to decrease the chances of the ones you love growing up to lead healthy, happy, and functioning lives.  These are the things I worry about, at least.

You both changed me in so many ways. Because of you, I want to live a healthier and more fulfilling life.  I want to be a role model and example for you, and I want to take better care of myself so that I can take better care of you.  I mean this in every aspect: physically, spiritually, financially, and so on.  I want to make sure you know that you can follow your dreams and make your life whatever you want.  And I want to be the living example of this that you can look to and be proud of.  In all these ways, your sweet, innocent beauty inspires me to be the best that I can be.  You have given me a worthy reason to love and live life to the fullest: my love for you and my want for YOUR LIVES to be full of love and fulfillment.

This is my endeavor, but I am far from perfect, as you know better than anyone.  I apologize now for any way that I have or will fail you. I can promise you to do my best, and that is really all that I am capable of. I will try to be creative in the ways that I show you that you can live this life and find much joy and happiness.  I will do my best to exemplify for you healthy habits and healthy living so that it may be an integral part of who you are. But I am not perfect. And I do not expect you to be, either.  What I do hope for is that you take responsibility for yourself someday, both for your achievements and your mistakes. No one is perfect.  It does not matter how many mistakes you make in life, I promise you that I will always love you.  So will God, so will the Universe, so will many others around you.  Everyone makes bad decisions. Everyone messes up. Know that I believe in you, no matter what.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:23

The key to making mistakes is to admit it, learn from it, make it right as best you can, ask for forgiveness if this is appropriate, FORGIVE YOURSELF, and then move on.  If you can do these things, no mistake is in vain for it was, if nothing else, a learning experience. I hope to raise you well enough to make you strong in character so that you will know to avoid making those kinds of  bad choices that are hard to come back from.  But, even if you do make some awful mistake or if the world seems to fall apart, keep trying, believing in yourself, do not give up on yourself or the world around you, and you will succeed.  I promise. You can be happy. You are loved.

  “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”― Paulo CoelhoAlchemist

I love you. I want you to know how much love there is in the world. Even if you ever get to a point when it feels like you have nothing, you have lost everything, or the ones you love have all forsaken you, I want you to know that this is not true. There is always someone who is willing to show you kindness and love. There are always people who are worthy of your trust. There is beauty all around you, though there may be times in your life when you have to look hard to find it. But do look for it. For this is what will help save your soul and bring you happiness: believing in and having the ability to see the love and beauty around you

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

                                      ~Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata

 

 

I get to see your beautiful smiles everyday.  They are infectious and bring joy to many.  I see the beauty in your hearts.  I see the brightness of your souls.  Even as children, you are smart, sweet, kind, and strong. I am so grateful for you.

I write you this letter for many reasons.  One being because tomorrow is never guaranteed and God forbid it happen that I am not around to tell you all this someday when you are old enough to understand it. I will do my best to take care of myself to help ensure that I am here for you for a long, long time. The main reason I write you this, though, is merely because I love you so much. You make my heart want to sing. You inspire poetry in my soul.  And I want you to have these words to read whenever you may need them.  They are true.  I want you to know how beautiful you are, how beautiful the world around you can be, and that you can be happy. That is what I want for you more than anything; for you to be happy, and I hope that you will try to spread that love and joy to those around you.  I will love you forever. I will be with you always.

There is so much more that I have to say to you, but I will save it for another letter. Hugs and kisses to you, my luvs.

Your Mama and Biggest Fan,

Sandra Lea Highfill