Letters written from a momma to her two teenage daughters.
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Dear Lauren and Lydia,
You have helped me out with program after program over the years. I really couldn’t have done it without you two. You have carried stuff and handed out programs and reserved chairs and helped keep track of choir shirts and set up decorations and ran the cd player and a whole host of other things that I don’t even remember like taking pictures and running the video camera
Tonight is our last time.
Lydia you’ll be performing. We’re not in charge of much tonight which is nice. But Lauren you’ll still probably help out with carrying stuff and behind the scenes stuff.
Tonight is low key. Three songs from 6th grade and three from 7/8th and then done.
Will you miss it? I wonder.
Neither of you will be in any performing groups next year. I will not be in charge of any performing groups. Huge change. Maybe a recital?
Maybe it’s relief you’re feeling after all these years. I have some of that. Nonetheless…it will be strange, especially in the months of December and May.
We might just have to go sit in a concert or two to get our fix
There is something about being part of something bigger than yourself. Singing in a choir is an amazing thing, or playing in the band or orchestra. Music done with other people is moving. I know you’ll keep playing and singing. You’re already both on the worship team at church. You’re both taking piano lessons and Lydia…voice. You may very well even pursue it more in college. I hope music always is in your life in a big way.
We’ll still have plenty of music in our home with private lesson students coming in and out.
I just want to tell you thank you one more time. You’ve been my grunt workers in this endeavor, unpaid…under appreciated except for an occasional run to DQ after a program. I never announced your names from the stage when I said thank you’s to the other music teachers and sound person…but I hope you know that I’m very thankful and proud of both of you.
There have been moments when we’ve all made mistakes, cd’s started on the wrong track, pictures taken without a photo card, video camera experiences that were a bit wobbly to watch later but honestly, the mistakes are really the funny stories to laugh about later.
Lauren…we’ll always have “Fame” and “Standing in the Need of Prayer”
Lydia…we’ll always have those certain second soprano notes that were hard to get in Pink Panther and James Bond. I think you’ll be singing those even when you’re old and gray we’ve gone over them so many times
It’s lovely when it all comes together and every note is there…but I’ve always felt that more than perfection I wanted my programs to have heart. Having heart doesn’t require perfection.
We’ve come pretty close though
I love you both.
Thank you….from your momma the music teacher, on her last program day.
Dear Lauren and Lydia,
I saw a book at my school this week in the teacher’s lounge for sale called “100 reasons why girls need their dad”.
I picked it up. I’m always up for a little soul torture so I figured why not. I’ll check out the pictures and reasons why and just rip my heart out at the fact that you don’t have your dad for all of these things anymore.
It was stuff like knowing how you should be treated by a man. Knowing that your dad would always be there. On and on, all wonderful stuff that every child should have. In moments like that I just have to raise my hands and say “God…my girls needed this. It wasn’t a luxury like a new out fit is. It wasn’t an extra like having your own bedroom is. My girls needed their dad. They still do.”
You were supposed to learn to drive from your dad.
You were supposed to go through the dating process with your dad as the man who made it clear that you were special and to be treated that way, and for him to shove off any guys who didn’t understand this concept.
You were supposed to go on a missions trip with your dad.
You were supposed to have him sitting in the audience when you graduated or performed or starting playing on the worship team at church.
You were supposed to have him to walk you down the aisle someday when you marry.
You were supposed to feel safe and secure and that he would always be there for you in a way that only dads can do.
You were supposed to feel beautiful and special always in your dad’s eyes. You were supposed to know what it felt like to have a man hold your hand and hug you because your dad was there to do those things first.
You were supposed to be able to talk with him and get advice on how guys think.
You were supposed to be able to share your dreams with him and have him help you reach those dreams.
On and on and on.
As I read the book I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.
Buy it for you both and say…hey girls this would’ve been who your dad was for you. No point in that.
Ignore it…act like not having a dad isn’t that big of a deal, I mean it’s been six years now, we’re all used to how it is.
Or just crumble and admit that I see holes and I don’t like the holes.
I guess it’s one thing for me to have holes…I can deal with those…but as your mom…my job is to help you not have holes where it matters.
I don’t care about you having the best material stuff, the right clothes or the fancy new car at age 16…I’m not talking about that kind of stuff. But having a dad…that’s a hole that matters.
We watched a video this past weekend at church about a widow. She said when her husband died she just decided that God would be her husband for now on. I get this thought…and I’ve had the same type of idea cross my mind…sometimes it works for me, sometimes not. Of course that widow was also in her 80′s and clearly not interested in remarrying. I’m 42. Yes God holds me together and I do experience His love and I know He calls me His beloved. But…
And yes I know He is your Father and that He keeps you safe and provides for you and speaks over you and tells you, you are beautiful…but.
All I really know is…you had a good dad. He loved you, was active in your life and wanted to be a part of your life always. You had a dad who would’ve given you more than a 100 good reasons for him to be a part of your life. And now you don’t.
I can talk to you about heaven, which is real and does give hope…but it does relatively little about this day, about this moment.
There are many things in life where I just don’t have the answers. And I just have to accept it and deal. It’s the only way to peace. God gives grace to help us through each new day.
Holes are ways of seeing through to God. It’s true…but sometimes that’s just not as satisfying as it might seem that it should be.
I don’t even care what anybody else thinks of me for making that statement. It’s true.
The only thing I know that we can do with holes and loss and disappointment which we will have plenty of in this life is to just be honest about it and trust that we’ll be ok, in fact somedays we’ll be wonderful. We take each moment as it comes and try to see the joy in that moment. We don’t force ourselves to feel joy all the time. We accept that what happened was not right and never will be and there is nothing we can do about it. And that it’s ok to feel disappointed, angry, frustrated, and a whole host of other emotions that are God given for such a time as this. We never have to pretend that we have it all together.
And then we look around and see that most of the people around us are in the same boat in some form or fashion. Our holes and disappointments and loss become what connects us to people around us.
I know a whole host of people who if they read a book about 100 reasons why a girl needs her dad would be torn up inside. We find those people and we love each other well because we can.
Dear Lauren and Lydia,
This week you’ve had time spent with Grandparents and your cousin Bryan. Special time. Time out of the ordinary. It occurs to me more and more as I get older how much time like this should be treasured.
You’re both growing up so fast. Soon you will probably be split up into different living arrangements than I. Just the reality of the three of us being under the same roof is something special. It won’t always be this way. Let alone add in grandparents and a cousin.
You’ve played outside a ton. You’ve hooked up your Nintendo DS games systems and played all together and had a ball. You’ve sat around with grandpa and played “Aggravation” at night loud and proud . It’s a Jackson tradition after all. You’ve ate good food and watched tv together and also just had a lot of ordinary time together.
I’m older. My family is hardly ever totally under the same roof these days. That would be a lot of people! I realize how rare and precious that kind of time is.
Not to be overly dramatic or crazy…but life has a way of pulling out the rug from underneath of us. You never know when a goodbye over miles will be the last. I know my brothers and sisters had no idea the last time they saw your dad thanksgiving of 2006 that it would be their last time seeing him.
Maybe I’m just sentimental…but these thoughts run through my mind whenever I see family. Grandparents are getting older…
I realize you’re at a point where you’re not thinking in these terms and if you were it would probably seem strange. You have a whole life ahead of you. But at the same time…I want you to treasure together times while you have them. Not in a panicked way where you won’t let go. But in a way where you give your whole self, fully present to those moments. A way where you give honor to visits with family.
I can’t help but start thinking about what it will be like someday when I’m the grandma coming to visiting you and your family. Actually I’ll be the “Gram” . I’m in no rush…but I also know how fast time flies.
Family is precious. I hope this week stands out in your memory as a special week. You’ve had a great time with Bryan. So glad he could come. You have grandparents who love you and want to be a part of your life…what a gift many children don’t have.
Love your momma who is grateful and hopes you are too. I just want to encourage you to be aware of the good and beautiful in your lives.