Dear 70 year old me,
I have no idea where you are living now. I have no idea what you will be doing at this age. In my 34 year old mind I like to imagine that you and Gabe have retired and are enjoying spending time together. I pray you are cherishing each other as the days go by. I imagine that you are doting on a grandchild or two and definitely still adoring the friendship you and Violet have created through these years. I am sure as you sit back and think of the days when she was small you wonder how the time could slip through your fingers so quickly. How in the blink of an eye she was grown and gone off to create her own life and her own way in this world. I hope you remember the simple things in your life. I hope you to live for each moment. I pray you wake with the spirit of that 3 year old girl so many years ago that woke you with kisses and giggles, feeling that the day is not to be conquered but enjoyed and treasured. I imagine that in the span of your life you have not regretted the lack of sleep that you got as a mother of a young child. I would wager to say that you do not wish that you had slept just a little bit more in the mornings before heading off to work. I can almost guarantee that you are wishing, in fact, that you had woken up earlier to relish in the laughter and hugs and kisses of your little girl. To cradle her in your arms while you still could. To linger in her arms as she squeezed your neck so tight and left warm wet kisses on your face. To watch as she pounced out of bed ready to greet the morning with energy that could not be contained any longer. I imagine that you often close your eyes and still see that tiny ballerina dancing in her pajamas as she made her way to the next room, then insisted on putting on her “real ballet clothes” to give you a special, private performance of the Nutcracker Ballet. I want you to remember this morning. The love you both felt for each other. Remember the joy in her voice as she stood behind the curtain that separated the shower and the kitchen announcing “Today I’m going to do a big ballet show”. She flung open the curtain and began dancing along to the Nutcracker music, remembering what each movement portrayed and trying to recreate it herself. Then asking you to join her, and at that moment saying to yourself, “Remember this, cherish this, this time in her life of carefree bliss.” Remember the sheer joy that being together brings to her heart and to yours. Remember what she answered when you asked her “what does love mean?” She said “Love means always being together.” Spending time together is how she shows and feels love. I am sure love will mean many things to her as she grows and matures into a woman. But at this moment it means being together. Whether she is living next door now or is if she is on the other side of the world, remind her that you are always together. If we carry each other in our hearts we are always together.
Now that you and Gabe are on your own again, perhaps you are getting a little more sleep than you used to. I am sure you miss these early mornings and wish that you could go back to them for just one brief moment. So I want to tell you that I am cherishing them for us. I am soaking up every minute. I am trying to preserve these memories in my heart of dancing before dawn and cooking breakfast in the dim light of morning. I am holding on without holding her back. So that one day, when you close your eyes and listen to the music that plays in your heart you will be there. You will be there with this tiny ballerina, this beautiful soul who loves you no matter what, who forgives you no matter how badly you fail. These days she often asks “Will I always be your baby?” and you always answer “always and forever!”. And then she asks “how long is forever?” you always answer her “forever means it never ends, it goes on and on and on. It never stops, never fades.” She will always be your baby no matter how old she is. These days went by faster than you ever dreamed possible but I am sure you remember the love.
Love, you (mom of 3 year old Violet)