Saturday, May 18, 2013

And Now You Are Seven

Dear Marie, 

You are seven.  Seven year old.  As cliched as it is to say, I can’t believe it.  I remember the day you carefully made your way into this world like it was yesterday.

This year was a pretty big year for you.

You wrote your first book and entered it into the PBS Kids Go! Writing Contest.  First of all, so proud of you for writing a whole book just because you love to write.  But I am even more proud of you because you saw it through the whole process - from prewriting to the final touches of the illustrations.  I am so very proud of you!

And even though I have known you since before you were born, I did learn something new about you this year.

You don’t like surprises.  At all.

Daddy and I bought Taylor Swift concert tickets for you, and we were so excited to give them to you.  At first you were shocked, and then I thought delight and sheer joy would be the next obvious reaction.  But alas, you did not want the tickets and disappointment set in, which quickly turned to guilt about feeling disappointed.  Watching you struggle with the guilt because you expressed your true feelings was worse than knowing you were disappointed about the tickets.  It resonated with me because I often find myself managing my true feelings and the guilt associated with them.

I did my best to coach you through this; eventually you made your peace and spoke your truth.  And your truth was wanting either a World War II themed birthday party.  Although it was a great idea, we decided to go with your second choice of having your party at an indoor play area.

And because I have now learned your true disdain for surprises, we had an open talk about what you wanted for your birthday gift.  I thought about it and, I agreed that you could get gift cards for an iPod.  

But once you had the money, you felt guilty about the iPod.  After much investigating/observing/listening, I determined that you felt guilty because you thought you wore me down.  Which totally wasn’t the case.  I explained to you that I had to come to terms with what I thought you should have and what truly interests you.

Watching how much you torture yourself with guilt at the tender age of seven, my birthday wish for you is to have the confidence within yourself to be guilt-free. I want you to know that you need to be who you really are.  You have a lot of amazing gifts, and I don’t want them to get lost in a sea of guilt.

In your life, you will find guilt at every turn.  Guilt about wanting something. Guilt about getting something.  Guilt about your feelings.  Guilt about your guilty feelings.

Just stop.

You deserve to be happy, and you deserve to speak your truth.  No, not deserve, but the responsibility to live your truth.

Without guilt.

Never apologize for your feelings or for being you.

Happy birthday.

Love you always,



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