To My Dreams

Day 5: Your Dreams………

Dear Dreams,

You’ve really taken a bad rap for a long time, haven’t you?  I have been called a dreamer as an insult for so long that I really started to believe it was an insult, and I resented you deeply.  I mean, how dare you keep popping up, when I told you repeatedly that I wanted to deal with reality and keep my head and feet firmly on the ground thankyouverymuch.  You may have taken a temporary leave of absence here or there, but you were never gone for long, damn you.  Thank you for that.

I know now that you are what keep me going, keep me on my toes, keep trying.  I know now that being a dreamer isn’t a bad thing, not at all.  A dreamer aspires for more, for better, for themselves and for everyone they love.  A dreamer sees potential in things that seem lost, see what can be, instead of what is.  A dreamer puts her dreams out there to the Universe, and knows, beyond any possibility of doubt, that she will be given the tools to make those dreams a reality.  I know that, because I am a dreamer.

So I am asking a favor of you now.  Forgive me for giving you such a hard time, and keep on coming to me.  I have worked too hard, and come too far to back down now.  You knew that from the start, I guess, but I’m just finding that out now.  So if you don’t give up. I won’t give up on you, either.  I think know that you are worth it.

Love,

Jenn

Dear Kim

Day 4: Your sibling………

Dear Kim,

I’m not sure how two people can be so totally opposite each other, yet share the same blood.  I want you to know that I admire you, and all of your success.  I know that you have worked damn hard for all you have achieved, and I am so proud of you and the life that you have made for yourself.

My kids all adore you, and my girls are in awe of you.  Your life is so completely different from mine, they look at you as their glamorous, fun Aunt, who takes them to a different, exciting city for amazing weekends.  Alli especially, wants to be just like you.  She wants to go to the same college, buy a house just like yours, she even wants to dye her hair to match yours!  I love that they look up to you and admire you so much.

Growing up, I always looked up to you, too.  Weird, since I am the older sister, but mom and dad always held you up as an example, and I was always so busy getting into trouble, it was easy for you to fall into the role model position.  I am truly sorry that I wasn’t a better sister to you, then and now.  We are so different, and live far enough away from each other that it is natural that we drifted away from being as close as we should be, but I still regret it.

Thank you for being so supportive when I had Jessica.  You were so young, but you always were so good with her, and always willing to watch her if I needed someone to stay with her.  I want you to know I appreciate that still.

Thank you for being my Maid of Honor at my wedding, even though I know you didn’t especially like my husband. (Really should have listened to you about that one!)

Thank you for acting as liason between dad’s side of the family and me after they cut me out, so to speak.  I really admire your sense of family, and how you go out of your way to stay connected.

Thank you for loving my children, and being an Aunt they can be proud of.

Thank you for being my sister.  I love you.

Love,

Jenn

Dear Mom

Day 3: Your Parents………..

This is part 2 of day 3 of the 30 Day Letter Challenge

Dear Mom,

Our relationship has certainly had its ups and downs, but I think we do pretty well now, for the most part.  I think it’s probably for the best, that we live as far apart as we do, and see each other once a year at the most.  Our personalities tend to collide when we live close enough for constant contact.

I know I have told you before, but now seems to be the perfect time to tell you again.  I know I was impossible for a long time.  I am so sorry, I know I put you through hell.  All the times I have called you, just at a total loss about Megan, I know you don’t have any idea what to do.  You had no idea what to do with me, and you had never done anything like what I did, so how could you.  That’s what I think about.  I was a “wayward teen,”  I know the signs of pot smoking, drinking, you didn’t.  You must have thought I had lost my mind.

I am sure that finding out your 19-year-old, single daughter was 5 months pregnant, exactly one week after your husband moved out completely unexpectedly was horrible.  I am so grateful to you for letting me and Jessica live with you.  Jessica, I know, benefited greatly by living with you for her first three years.  I know she appreciates it too.

I was thinking about writing this letter, and it occurred to me that one of the biggest resentments I held on to from my childhood is that you read my diary.  That makes me laugh now, seeing as I now write my most intimate thoughts and feelings in a forum where anyone who has access to the internet can read it.  I do think, though, it was around that time that I started hiding my true self from everyone, even from me.

I still do hide a lot from you, and that is sad.  There is a whole list of topics that I would like to talk to you about, and a whole list of things I wouldn’t like to talk to you about, but as my mom, you probably should be told.  I think I try to protect you from what you will consider the ugly parts of my life.  Some of  them aren’t ugly, they are actually pretty beautiful, but I don’t think you would see it that way.  Admittedly, you are much more open-minded now than you were while you were married to dad, so I could very well be underestimating you.  I hope so.

My kids totally adore you, I hope you know that.  I love that they do.  They always look forward to your visit, and they can identify your perfume anywhere.  I love that they will always associate the smell of Obsession perfume with you, as I do.

I am glad that we can talk with each other as equals now.  That is a good thing to come from my leaving my marriage.  I really feel like it brought us closer together, and I am grateful to you for that.  I love you.

Love,

Jenn

Dear Dad

Day 3:  Your parents……..

Ok so my parents have been divorced for longer than they were together, and I have hugely different relationships (and issues) with each of them, so I am going to do 2 letters.

Dear Dad,

I am starting with you because your letter will be the hardest, and I like to get the hardest part done first.  Actually, you taught me that.

Dad, I wish our relationship was different, or more accurately, I wish we had a relationship, I really do.  I hate that I haven’t seen you in over ten years, and except for calling you last year to tell you I had left my husband, haven’t talked in ten years.  Does it bother you, ever?  I does me.  Not as much as it used to, but it still does sometimes.

I know that I was never an easy daughter, and for a long time I probably wasn’t a very good daughter, and I am sorry for that.  I have this need to question authority, and I don’t know where it came from, but it has been there, probably since birth.  I remember as a teenager, getting into trouble constantly, and you and mom both said to me “I hope you have a daughter that does these same things to you one day!”  Well, dad, thanks for that.  Let me introduce you to your grand-daughter Megan.  If I hadn’t already felt badly about my teen years, she would have made me.  She has taken some of my antics to a whole other level, and has tried my patience in ways I never knew possible.  You”re laughing now, right?  Yeah, go ahead, I probably deserve it.

The difference between you and me is that I would never, ever cut my child out of my life.  I just don’t even understand the thought process that makes that right, or okay.  I’m sorry dad, I’m over it, and I even forgive you for it, but I will never understand it.

I know that I disappointed you in a thousand different ways over the years.  Growing up, you provided us with a life style that most people, including my own children, can only dream of.  They have never been on a vacation.  I can’t hand them a credit card to go shopping for designer clothes whenever they want to.  I couldn’t buy my daughter a car.  I appreciate that you did all those things for us, for me, I really do.  What I did give my kids instead is love, and time, and attention.  They would tell you too much attention, but I don’t think there is such a thing.

In the long run though, I really believe that you are the one that missed out.  I think that you would be proud of the person I have become.  I think that you would admire how many times I get back up, when life knocks me down.  Sometimes I get the wind knocked out of me, sometimes it might take a while, but I always get back up.  Someone once asked me why I thought it was that I never cracked under the pressure, retreated into a depression, or a mental breakdown.  I couldn’t answer that then, and I am not sure I can now, but I’m proud that I am strong enough to take what comes my way.  As my father, you should be proud too.

What I know you missed out on is your grand children.  They are the most amazing, beautiful, smart people on this planet.  These kids bring joy to everyone they meet.  I’m sorry that you don’t know them.  I hope still that some day that will change, for your sake as well as theirs.  You have a great-grandson now too, and he is just as incredible as his mom is.

What I really want you to know, most of all, is that I love you, and I always will.

Love,

Jenn

30 Day Letter Challenge Day 2

Day 2: Your crush…….

Dear Crush,

I guess it’s a little odd for a grown woman to have a celebrity “crush” but I have never been known to behave the way I am supposed to, so honestly, why start now?  I am glad I have a chance to tell you, although I am sure you will never actually read this, how much I admire you, and am inspired by you.

I admire you’re talent, obviously.  I have never mentioned you to anyone that hasn’t had something good to say about you.  The ability to make people laugh is a very rare and amazing gift.  What makes you even more enjoyable is that watching you, it is so clear that you are doing what you love.  That makes all the difference, no matter what field.  I commend you on finding what you love to do, and perfecting your craft so well.

I admire that you use your fame to make our world a better place.  You have strong beliefs, and are not afraid to defend them.  I love that you live what you say, and encourage others to do the same without forcing your beliefs or preaching to your audience.  That is a refreshing change from so many celebrities.

Most of all. I have nothing but the highest respect for the way you refuse to hide who you are.  I talk a lot about being “authentic”,  I even named my blog about the search for authenticity.  There came a time, when you had a decision to make.  Hide who you are, or risk losing everything, even your career.  I love that you refused to back down.  The happiness, and true contentment that radiates from you as a result?  That, that is what I want.  That is why I have embarked on this journey to find authenticity.

I love the way you look at your wife.  The love that you share is so evident, no one could ever deny it.  It is a beautiful thing.  There are so many people who would disagree with me, but I know, without a single doubt, that love like that is not, and never could be, wrong.  It is love.  Pure, simple, love.  I will always admire your willingness to show that love to everyone who sees you.

Thank you for being a role model to so many young people in the world today.  Thank you for bringing laughter in a time in our country when there is so little to laugh at.  I appreciate it greatly, and I know I am not alone.

30 Day Letter Challenge

Day 1: Your Best Friend…..

Dear Paula,

It’s funny how when you meet someone for the first time, you have no idea what, if any, part that person will play in your life.  I don’t remember the first thing I said to you, or you to me.  I remember that I thought you were Norman’s daughter, not wife.  I remember thinking that you were nowhere near my age, and wondering if we would have anything at all in common.  That makes me laugh now, because I honestly cannot imagine my life without you, or your kids.

In almost all of my adult memories, you are in them in some capacity.  I remember two young mothers, in bad marriages, sitting on our front step with blankets to avoid being in our houses after our kids were sleeping.  I love that even then our kids would walk into each others homes just like they did their own.  I love that your daughter was my daughter’s first best friend.  Remember how many hours they spent playing barbies out in front of our houses?  Remember how many hours WE spent looking for lost barbie shoes in the dirt?

I remember how much I admired you when you finally left Norman.  I didn’t think I would ever have that much courage or strength.  I have to admit though, I was kind of jealous.  And sad.  Kelly thought that we would be friends, stupid girl that she is.  But, your moving away led to our greatest invention ever: sanity breaks.

Oh my Lord, I LOVED our sanity breaks!  I used to have like a contest, to see which one of us would call first and say stop what you’re doing!  I need a sanity break!  It got to the point that my kids would tell me to call you cause I needed a sanity break!  I think they needed a break from me, probably.  They knew that I was always way too overprotective and you would tell me if no one was bleeding and nothing was broken to leave them alone.

In the days and months after Daniel died, you were nothing less than my rock.  Here’s the thing about when a child dies.  At first, everyone is there.  People bring food, they call, they come to visit, and after a few weeks, all of that stops.  It has to, people need to go back to their lives.  The thing is, the silence when everyone is gone, can kill you.  Or drive you insane at the very least.  You never left.  You stayed, and we cross stitched.  And ate an obnoxious amount of Krispy Kreme Donuts.  I will never forget that, or ever be able to repay my gratitude.

I was completely honored when you asked me to be your Maid of Honor when you married Tony.  Even though I really didn’t want you to marry Tony.  It was so much fun planning your wedding with you, even making those damn baskets that never seemed to end. ( You know, we really were crafty people there for a while.  I never really thought about that.)  It was your wedding pictures that made me go on The Great Diet and lose 100 pounds, so in a way, I have you to thank for that, too.

I think it was during the Tony years that our lives started mirroring each others.  We had babies at the same time, got jobs at the same times, we did everything at the same time.  We still do, oddly enough. ( I know what you’re thinking right now, and don’t go there!)

I have to tell you, that the time I lived in your house, was the happiest time in my life.  It’s not many people who would take in a woman and her kids on an hours notice, even if it is their best friend, but you never even blinked.  Remember Mt. Jenn?  I thought that pile of everything I owned would never leave the middle of your living room.  I love that you knew exactly what I needed to do, and how to do it.  There are so many memories of that time I could write now, but we talk about them all the time, so I am only going to say once again, I will never, ever be able to repay your amazing gift to me.

I love that your kids refer to me as mommy number 2.  I love that my kids tell me to call you when there is shopping to be done, because they know I hate it, and you love it enough to shop until you find the really, really good deals.  I love that I call you my wife and no one, even your boyfriend dares to correct me.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, you are my longest, best relationship.  For all of this and more, I love you, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Love,

Jenn

To Say Goodbye

He went to say goodbye.

To the woman who had given birth to him, kissed his scraped knees, dried his tears, read him bedtime stories, and kissed him goodnight.  The woman who taught him right from wrong, the first woman he loved.

I remember, as a little girl, my grandmother told me when you want to know how a man will treat you, look at how he treats his mother.  I always believed that I would be placed on the highest pedestal if that were true.

I know that he has countless, countless regrets about his relationship with his mom over the past several years.  Busy with his life, and his children, time and distance limited their contact to phone calls.  He hid his dark side from her, and I don’t blame him for that, although I know without a doubt she would never have thought any less of him if he had told her everything.

I wish that our relationship were one that he felt he could talk to me about this, but we are where we are, and he is who he is, a man who does not forgive, or put hurt feelings aside.

If I could talk to him, I would tell him my memories of the woman who was my mother in law for 18 years.  I would tell him how I remember working in her kitchen for two straight days, preparing food for my wedding.  I would talk about going to church with her on Saturday nights, learning his religion from the same person that taught him to pray.  I would laugh when I talked about watching his father run from this tiny, quiet woman with just a hint of fear, when she got the look that said he had pushed her just a little bit too far.  I would remember with reverence how she stood at her husband’s graveside with quiet dignity and grace as he was buried.  I would tell him how much I had learned from her, and how deeply sad I am that she is sick, how I will be relieved for her when her suffering is finally over, but so, so sad for all of us who stay behind.

No one can know, with certainty, what life has in store for us.  I hope that in time, we can all be a family together.  A different kind of family, to be sure, but really, what is a “normal” family?  Being able to put differences aside in a time of sadness, to share grief out of a genuine caring for one another, isn’t that the most important part of family?