Love Letter Discipline
When my kids are having “one of those days”—you know which ones I mean, the ones where nothing works right, and you’re wondering how wrong is it, really, to post your child on Kijiji… or Freecycle—I have two fool-proof strategies.
Strategy 1: I take them out for ice cream. (That’s yesterday’s post).
Strategy 2: I write them love letters.
Seriously. Sometimes in my head, sometimes—on the really, really “those” days—physically. Here is an example of Flora’s:
To My Flora,
You are my most beautiful, brilliant little daughter. And you will grow and grow into my most beautiful, brilliant big daughter. And I will love you every minute and every second and every nano-second of your amazing life. I will love you when you laugh and when you cry, when you’re angry and when you’re happy, when you’re celebrating the world and when you’re fighting it, when you need me to hold you and when you need to be alone. I will love you, every part of you, forever and ever and for always. Because you are Flora, because you are you.
And here is one for Cinder:
To My Cinder,
You are my most beautiful, brilliant not-so-little son. And you will grow and grown into my ever-bigger beautiful, brilliant son. And I will love you every minute and every second and every nano-second of your amazing life. I will love you when you’re full of joy and when you’re full of sadness. I will love you when you do what I ask you to do and when you march off listening to the beat of your own drummer. I will love you when you’re strong and when you’re weak, when you’re creating and when you’re deconstructing, when you’re wild and when you’re calm. I will love you when we are together and understand each other, and I will love you when we are apart and don’t. I will love you, every part of you, every thought of you and every moment of you, for ever and ever and for always. Because you are Cinder, because you are you.
By the time I finish writing or thinking one of these—or simply re-reading one I wrote during a previous crisis—I’m usually regrounded and recharged. Able to put the current moment’s craziness in perspective. Reminded of how much I love the little beasts, no matter how beastly they seem in this particular moment.
Got a moment? Write your own love letters to the munchkins. Don’t wait until you want to freecycle the little dudes. Do it now—and then when one of those days come, pull them out and read them.
And then take the kids out for ice cream.
I’ve recently shared a very long love letter to Cinder with you on occasion of his birthday, and you’ll find a very long love letter to Flora here. These longer letters were not written or composed in the heat of an “everyone’s evil!” moment, but I do refer to them in the heat of the moment quite often.
If you’ve written a love letter to your beasts… er, I mean beloved munchkins, please share it.