There are these 3 little wise owls at Mimi’s house that you love. You know remember: one has his wings over his eyes, one over his ears and one over his mouth and it’s all about protecting yourself from evil. She recently taught you what they meant and ever since you walk around putting your hand over your ears and mouth saying “no evil.” It’s adorable and yet, you have no idea how important that message is.
Baby, there is stuff that I cannot share with you right now because your little mind cannot understand them! Yet these things……they bring up lessons that I need to teach you, explain to you and start to plant in your heart right now. Things I feel I must prepare you…… and me for….. now because they are coming, sooner than I want to admit AND because I think by the time they start happening it will be too late to start teaching you….. and because they scare me!
The other night, there was a news story on tv as we played trains on the floor…. you didn’t hear it…. you paid no attention….. but I did!
It flooded me with great anxiety as I struggled with how to make your little mind understand the things I need to say to you on such an adult subject. How can I start these conversations with you on a small level so that they will build into bigger talks later?
It keep me up at night even now… even though you are only 2. You will be faced with adult things so much earlier than I was.
You see, 20 minutes from our home, in a town we frequent often to eat … to play… to shop, an 11 year old little boy attempted to KILL HIMSELF. He was not successful but there is irreparable damage.
Suicide causes a pain like no other death. It’s not better or worse…. but it’s much much different, unfortunately I KNOW, but that’s another story for another letter when you are older.
I know what you will ask…. you will look up with me with those big beautiful blue eyes and in your soft little voice, you will say, “why mommy?”
Bullying – a horrible, horrible trend that I wish I could protect your from. Yet. deep down know I can’t! He was unmercifully ridiculed because he dared to be a little different!
Again, “why mommy?”
You know how you like The Mickey Mouse Club and one of your favorites is that new little cartoon about a pink cat that is a Sheriff?
Well the cartoon he liked…… it wasn’t the same one all the other little boys like. Instead of a cartoon about super heroes or other cartoons geared toward boys, he just liked My Little Pony. He liked the flying horse… THE NERVE!!!!
The story…. (breath)…. it said…(breath)…. that his mother described him as “energetic and [he] liked to dance” and she felt like that made it [the bullying] worse…(breath)……this made me think of you:
See, you love the color pink right now (and baby, there is nothing wrong with that – despite what others may think) and
you twirl around in circles to my music box saying, “look mommy I a ballerina too.” (that’s how you say things right now).
And you are far too young to know how small minded people view these things I love about you…. even though you are only 2. These small things… .they make you, you!There are some that would say I should teach you to not like pink and push blue on you instead – what a dumb idea that there are appropriate colors for you to like! there are those that would say I shouldn’t let you twirl….also dumb!
Mommy doesn’t listen to those antiquated ideas… you go ahead and be who you want to be baby, mommy will love you just the way you are, forever, I promise!
But sometimes a mommy’s love just isn’t enough when you get older. Sometimes the words of hurt you hear said to you every day can drown out mommy’s voice saying “you are perfect just the way your are!”
This little boy…… his mommy’s voice was drowned out! He couldn’t hear it over the endless ridicule and torment of others and this precious angel HUNG HIMSELF OFF THE SIDE OF THIS BUNK BED! Oh, how his heart must have been hurting really bad.
As I heard this story my heart sunk… to the lowest depths….. in fear about your weaknesses!
Everyone has them, weaknesses that is… some area that you have doubt or feel unequal. Sometimes these weaknesses are about our insides and sometimes they are about our outsides…. but they are always there.
I find myself wondering…..
What will be different about you?
Will it be your height they pick on – I am told you may be shorter than average (but that’s just statistics which mean very little),
Will it be your gentle and tender nature?
Will it be banjos and bluegrass music, which you love so much right now—– that will certainly be unpopular.
I don’t know what it will be, but there will be something.
I wouldn’t change, it even if I knew….. I would just prepare you.
The mean kids…. the bullies…. they will look for your weakness, they will sniff it out like a bloodhound…. and they prey on it. I want you to know all of this before they start…. before anyone teases! I want us to be prepared, because we are in this together!
Even as I write this letter, I am bothered.
I HATE that I have to think this way;
I HATE that this is the world you will grow up in;
I HATE that I have to start preparing you at this little tender age to get your heart broken for ridiculous reasons; and
I HATE that the hurt will sometimes feel like it is more than you can bear.
The Bible says you are fearfully and wonderfully made, Psalm 139:14. I wish that was enough. I wish I could teach you that verse from the Bible, send you on your way and that would protect you….. that alone would give you the strength. But it won’t; I can’t depend solely on that. I can’t send you out to the hateful people you will meet with a big ‘ole t-shirt that says:
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made so don’t mess with me!” (though that would be cool)
If only things were that easy. BUT we don’t live in a perfect world and I can’t approach life as if we do.
I can’t stick my head in the sand and pretend these issues don’t exist and I CANNOT wait until the problem knocks on our front door to try and protect against it.
Things like this… depression, hurt, sadness, they don’t have the common courtesy to ring your doorbell and come in the front door, instead they sneak in the backdoor and you never even see them until it’s too late …. too late to just start the conversation. So I’m starting now….
You know your bedtime routine:Bath,PJs,Teeth Brushing,Bedtime story,Bedtime Prayer, lights out…..
That time at the end ….the part where I lay with you in the dark and we talk…..you thinks it’s for you…. it’s really for me! I need to end my day that way, all tangled up with you, snuggling and whispering. That’s my chance to check in with you and make sure you are okay. I’m setting it up…. for later…. later when you need to talk to me. Hopefully, you will know I will be there to listen to your BIG STUFF because I have always been here listening to your small stuff.
Mean words, they are just that….. words….. air coming from someone’s mouth….. just mean words…. THEY WILL NOT DESTROY YOU…. unless you give them that power! Don’t give them that power. I promise:
I WILL NOT ALLOW BULLIES OR THEIR WORDS TO DESTROY YOU!
I WILL STAND IN THE GAP FOR YOU!
I WILL BE THE BAD GUY FOR YOU!
And if I need to march right down to the playground or that school and stand guard everyday then I will start on my resignation now, because you….. you come first.
You are so much more than the opinion of others. They don’t even matter…. those people that are mean to you! Remember those owls at Mimi’s house baby,… the 3 little wise owls you love so much…. put your hand over your ears and HEAR NO EVIL!
You are not alone. Adults still have words everyday said by others they have to block out or ignore… it doesn’t stop when you grow up. You just have to protect your heart and not let them in. Until you are strong enough to shake them off, please come to me…. let me remind you of this… let me help you.
DO NOT EVER DO ANYTHING TO HURT YOURSELF! THERE IS NOTHING SO BAD THAT WE CANNOT MAKE IT THROUGH TOGETHER! HARMING YOURSELF IS NEVER THE ANSWER!
The truth is… those people that lash out at you…. usually they are the ones hurting…. they are the ones feeling powerless and weak …… they are just trying to use you to convince themselves differently. They lack self worth because someone else is bullying them. They are trying to find power, don’t give it to them.
You won’t believe me now even as I tell you these things. You won’t see how fast it will all pass and how none of it will matter in 10 years. You won’t believe me because the sting of those words will blind you. It won’t be until you are much older that you realize that what I am saying is true. So in the meantime, believe these things:
All you have to say is, “mom I need to talk to you…” I will set my phone down, shut my computer down, turn the stove off, unplug the television… whatever I need to do to give you my FULL attention I promise I will not judge you, I will not try to fly off the handle and fix your problem for you…. we will talk…. well you will talk and I will listen. That’s my promise to you! Then together we will find a solution.
You can talk to me about ANYTHING!!!!
You ARE wonderfully made just the way you are! LET MY VOICE DROWN OUT THE BULLIES!
I will always love you just the way you are, no matter what!!! You cannot do anything that would make me stop loving you…. hear that!!!! Let that sink in….. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT!
P.S. Baby, be the voice for others. If you ever see someone getting bullied, go stand beside that person. Tell him/her that they matter. Find something good to say to them…. find the good stuff and remind them…. brag about it…. scream about it…. be their friend and be louder than the bully. When mommies aren’t around, angels are ….. be that kid’s angel. It will take a lot of strength to do that… it will take courage and wisdom beyond your years…. but I believe in you! I know that you can be that voice for others who aren’t so strong.
P.S.S. Don’t ever be that mean person. Don’t ever use your words to hurt or humiliate another. You have no idea the damage you can do ….. it’s not worth the laugh! Not to mention I will hunt you down and become your worse nightmare if you try to be the bully. You are not that child and we did not raise you that way. You are a child of God filled with compassion and empathy, don’t ever forget that.