Thursday, March 29, 2012

Letter for My Son

Letter for my Son

Dear Geoff,

My life was altered the second I knew you were with me. I was standing at the dinner table in my tiny kitchen the first time I felt that fluttering in my abdomen that assured me for the very first time that you were, indeed, there. Until then, you had simply been the blue line on the stick I stuck into my pee stream or the smile on the doctor’s face confirming that my blood certainly contained proof that you existed. You were the force that turned my appetite into a voracious needing machine as well as the reason that I gave much of what I ate back to the toilet, the trash can, the side of the road…

I threw up twenty-nine times, thank you very much.

Your flutters turned to flicks. Your flicks turned to thumps. Your thumps turned to jabs, and your jabs turned into a complete aerobic regimen, and as you got more crowded inside my tiny frame, you decided that your favorite place to stick your feet was in between my ribs and my lung.

I think you understood that you were surrounded by people who loved you on that Thanksgiving day, so you decided to start pushing your way out. Your Grandma JoAnne and Grandpa Alvin, your Aunt Dee Dee and Uncle Brad, and Your Uncle Devin were all so excited to meet you that they drove me to the hospital with all the kids in tow to see if you’d pop out that night. You didn’t pop out until Saturday morning—hey, thanks for that marathon labor—because your head was as big as a basketball.

They finally cut you out.

The instant I heard your first cry, the change to my life was palpable. I became another person. I became a mother. It is the single-most significant role I’ve been blessed to have. My arms were strapped down because of the c-section, but the nurses bundled you up and put your cheek against my cheek. I will never forget how soft you were. I have often thought about what I want when I die. This is what I want: As I leave this earth, I want to feel your cheek against mine. That first touch was our greeting when I brought you into this world, and it is my heart’s desire for that to be our last touch when I leave this world.
Later that day when the nurses brought you into my hospital room for the first time, I couldn’t help but unwrap your blanket and take off your diaper to examine every centimeter of your body to make sure you were perfect—and you were.

Although your toes were the longest I’ve ever seen on any human creature.

You had the softest and sweetest little cry. You would barely get out a peep, and I would come running to tend to whatever you needed. I thought that I was so lucky to have a baby with such tiny sounds to ask for what he wanted. Three days later, your lungs kicked in and I thought you were possessed by the spirit of Chucky. I still tended to you faithfully, albeit, much more promptly after that.

You were the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen in my life. People would stop me in the stores and say, “My goodness, that’s a beautiful baby!” With absolutely no shame whatsoever, I would reply in sheer astonishment, “I KNOW! Isn’t he AMAZING?” I couldn’t believe that something so perfect could come from my own body. I was truly blessed.

I’ve been enamored with you ever since. When you didn’t smile for three years (Chief Thundercloud) I was smitten. When your Uncle Devin and Alicen and I took you on your very first trip to Disneyland, I was smitten. When you entered kindergarten, when you gave your first piano recital I was smitten. When you started putting sounds together to make words for the first time, when you lost your second tooth—you lost your first one at your dad’s—when you laughed and when you ate and when you played and when you slept and when you smiled and when you BREATHED, I was smitten with you.

Your Fa came to us just in time, I think. Someone needed to teach you how to throw a ball, ride a bike, and pee standing up. You were a dream come true for him and became the only son he will ever have. He loves you beyond description and is so proud. You’ve given us precious memories to cherish always. We have always loved your humor, your laughter, and your brilliant mind. We still talk about the entrepreneurial spirit you demonstrated at our wedding when you coerced as many quarters as you needed from our guests for the video games you were playing while we greeted family and friends in the receiving line.

You have always been the greatest judge of character, even as a small child. We love the people you have introduced us to—your friends and their families. You never ran out of ways to enrich our lives, and you were a dream to bring up. We, being in the business of children, knew that we had a gem in you. You have always been the greatest event of our lives.

Our love for you is eternal. We look forward to sharing every step of your life, for you are the best gift we’ve ever received, worth more than riches or fame or any other form of fleeting fortune. You are not fleeting—you are eternal as well. And you’ve been given an extraordinary life by God. I have asked him to pursue you always, as He has pursued me. May you be caught up in the love and power of God, your Maker. Your Sustenance. Your very breath. You are, indeed, blessed and highly favored. May you always be grateful for all you’ve been given.

Gratitude is the key to life, my love. May you always have a thankful heart. Even when you encounter hardships and suffering, for surely you will, may your heart be ever tender and joyful. May you find that joy that this world does not give—and this world will never be able to steal it from you. May you learn to lean on the wisdom of God above your own. It’s true, He has given you a brilliant mind, but never forget that His is more brilliant still. He sees what you cannot see. He knows what you do not. He sees around every bend where you could not possibly. Do not hesitate to put your life in His very loving, capable hands. Learn the power there is in surrender. Learn to relinquish in one hand and hold tightly to that which you love with the other. Find the beauty in every situation and do not be afraid of the randomness of the universe or the ruthlessness of fate. There is not a “lesson” in every circumstance, so don’t always look for that silver lining or you will find yourself making excuses for God. This is futile.

Gratitude is the key to life, and Jesus IS the life. He is the way. He is the truth. Find Him where He may be found. Do not stop seeking Him ever. Always, always, always consult with Him in all you do, and He will direct your path. He will find you and set you free. I hope I have conveyed this by my example. I hope I have shown you how crucial He is to my life and your life and all life. I hope I have not jaded you with my frustrations in regard to the church, but I hope I have lived my life in such a way that you have seen His goodness, His faithfulness, and His love.

You have his strict attention. You are His beloved. Make Him yours as well. He does not disappoint.

Continue on the path of self-improvement. A mother could write for days about the wonderful attributes of her son—forever from the perspective of rose-colored glasses. You are a good man—but you are not a perfect man. Find those aspects of your character that don’t belong and get rid of them, but be good to yourself and show yourself patience along the way. Self-deprecation does not equal humility, and false humility is really arrogance. Be humble. Love justice. Show mercy. For this is God’s will for you.

Remember what is on the final exam of life: you will stand before Christ and he will ask, “Did you feed the hungry?” Make sure you are able to tell him ‘yes.’ He will ask, “Did you give clothes to those who were naked?” Make sure you are able to tell him ‘yes.’ He will ask, “Did you visit those who were sick and in prison?” Make sure you are able to tell him ‘yes.’ You will know you aced the test when you hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” You’ll know you flunked if you hear Him say, “I never knew you.” Make sure you never hear those words. Make Him proud, for faith without works is dead, and the sun doesn’t rise and set on your shoulders alone, my son.

Do not be afraid of where you come from. You are not me. You are not your Fa. You are not your father. You are Geoffrey Siler—no more, no less. You and God together decide what you will be and what you will not. I hope you will be compassion embodied. I think you are well on your way.

You are well on your way.

I am incredibly grateful for you. You have shown me the goodness and grace of God just by showing up to my life, and you have been the cure for every pain that I’ve ever encountered.

I love you more than I could ever write on this page. I hope you know that. I write these words so that you will never doubt nor ever forget.





Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Letter for My Husband

Here is a chapter from my book that didn't make the final editing cut. I hope you like it.

Dear Sean-Martin,

You know what I love about you? I love the way your voice changes on the phone when you realize it’s me on the other end. Your whole demeanor changes from a very manly, businesslike, “Hello?” to a much softer, sexier and ever-so-slightly-more-attentive “Hey, babe. What’s up?” I’ve always loved the way you talk to me on the phone, like you’ve been waiting all day just to hear my voice. And for all these years, it hasn’t changed. You’re always just as anxious to talk to me as you were the first time we ever spoke on the phone.

You know what else? Every time you put a protective arm around me, you’re letting me know that no harm will ever come to me as long as you are with me. Every time you open a door for me or pull my chair out, you’re telling me that I’m the most important part of your life. You’re such a gentleman. I love that about you.

I love how you take care of me when we go camping, and I’ve loved every single vacation you’ve taken us on. I would never have seen so many beautiful places without you. And you make me feel that no matter where we are, every sun rises and sets on me. You’ve given me so many wonderful memories to treasure. Remember the Redwoods in that little tent you had? You made it seem like a mansion until we upgraded to the pop-up and then again to the travel trailer. And remember before we got a camper with a bathroom in it how I would ALWAYS have to pee in the middle of the night? You were so sweet whenever I’d be scared to walk out to the bathroom by myself, and you would always take me. You’d never get impatient with me--EVER--no matter how tired you were. I’d wake you up, and you’d just say, “OK, let’s go.” You’d get the flashlight and get my coat and walk me down the trail. So sweet--except for that one time you hid and scared the crap out of me. And how do you come up with such AMAZING meals a gazillion miles from nowhere? Surf and turf and steamed asparagus has never been a problem for you whether we’re cooking at home on the stove or in the woods over an open fire. I’ve never gone hungry, that’s for sure. Well, maybe there was one time through Washington state in the middle of the night. I was hungry AND tired, a dismal combination for you, but you just handled it like a champ in your usual form.

You know what else I love about you? I love how you sneak out of bed on Saturday mornings and go upstairs to watch your fishing shows. You bring me a steaming cup of chai and whisper in my ear, “Don’t get up,” because you want your uninterrupted, quality alone time. Like I want to hop out of bed at six o’clock on a Saturday morning.

I love when, all of a sudden, as if it’s just occurred to you, you say, “I sure love you, baby...” Out of the blue. I’ll just be standing there stirring something on the stove, and you’ll say it. Or I’ll be checking my e-mail or putting on my make-up, and you’ll just come out with it. It’s nice. I like it. I like that I don’t even have to look pretty for you to say it. You’ll just say it whenever the mood strikes. You’ll say it first thing in the morning when I have morning breath and morning hair and left-over-from-last-night morning make-up. While I’m on this subject, I might as well mention you don’t seem to mind the fact that my butt is jiggly or that I have stretch marks from here to Nigeria or that my tummy is far from flat. Your body remains hard and muscular and tan, and what do you have to say about mine? You say you really like that little “scoopy-scoop” that my tummy and hips and butt have created in the small of my back, and I know that you’re telling the truth because you have your hands on it all the time. Way to focus on the positive! God, I love you!

I love the fact that you’ll get out of bed to get me a drink of water in the middle of the night. Mostly. And if I absolutely can’t get you to do it, you’ll cuddle with me and try to convince me that I’m not really thirsty at all, and you’ll rub my face till I fall asleep. That’s nice too.

I love how you try to be grumpy, but you can’t. And when I giggle, you snap out of whatever got your shorts in a twist to begin with. I swear your worst days are better than most people’s best days. You’re just an even-keeled kinda guy. And when I’m grumpy, you’ll say, “Oh, baby, come on...” in your sweet, albeit somewhat patronizing voice. I can’t believe it works every stinkin’ time, but it does! How can that be? I know you’re going to say it, I tell myself not to let you appease me, and then you do it anyway. You’re magic. And I can’t resist you.

I love how you’ll stand in the kitchen and talk to me when it’s my night to cook. You always offer to pour me a glass of wine. Sometimes you’ll turn the music up and dance with me. And I love the fact that you and Geoff get up and clear the table and do the dishes when we’re done.

I love when you laugh at my jokes. You seem to do it often. I love that. I love the fact that you make me laugh every day. You’re a very funny guy. Did you know that? You have to know that. Wayne Newton. Hair that doesn’t belong. Bitter beer face. Bridges and birds. You are some entertainment, my man! Never a dull moment with you!

You know what else I love? I love the fact that everyone who meets you likes you instantly. When we leave a party, people do not say, “Yeah, she’s a nice girl, but he’s a real JERK! I wish she’d get a clue!” A good man will be attentive to his wife and obviously so. He will cherish her and love her and protect her, thereby earning respect from respectable people. The last person a woman should need protection from is her husband, for crying out loud! But we’ve both known women who are not cherished or protected from the men who should be doing exactly that. Those husbands are an embarrassment to such women. So, thank you for being a good man. You have earned the respect from all who know you, and I am always proud to be with you.

When challenges presented themselves, you navigated through it with such precision and foresight. We walked through our issues pretty darn bravely, I think. I know there were times when you were haunted by the possibility of making a wrong decision. But looking back, I see how you kept your head about you, and we both agreed on what was best for the three of us. I have no regrets, and I would hate it if you didn’t know that. So know that. I love what we have accomplished together, and I’m excited about our future. Raising Geoffrey with you has been the greatest joy of my life. Even he thinks we did a good job. And even when times were tough, I feel good about the fact that it was tough due to circumstances beyond our control. The difficulties were not because of stupidity or selfishness or neglect on either one of our parts. We’ve only made life better for each other--never harder. And when hard times came around to us, we were ready for it. So, with that being said, I love that you’ve shown such wisdom on our journey. I love that you have a calming and comforting effect on me. I love that you fill our home with laughter. I love that you spoil me. I love that you’re irresistible. I love that you provide and protect. I love that you’re a happy and contented man. I love that you breathe me in. I love that you love me. You completely soothe my soul. I love you. I trust you. I respect you. I enjoy you. I appreciate you. Even though we’ve been together all these years, I feel like I just married you a week ago. And I feel like we’ve always been together.

I am yours forever,

Daisy Rain