Our friend, Melissa Radke, is back, just in time for the holidays! This time of year can be emotional to say the least. We are excited to share a bit of how Melissa kicked off the season, in this heartfelt and honest guest blog. Enjoy!
As I write these words I am sitting on my couch, the Christmas tree on twinkle, next to my eleven-year-old daughter who has squeezed in as close to me as humanly possible and lightly snores. We will move her to her bed in a few minutes, but for this moment she is here with me. Just like she has been every second of every minute of every hour of every day of this recent holiday break.
Mama, needs some space. Don’t get me wrong, I adore her. But we are invading new territory right now with all her emotions and all her feelings…of which there are sooooo very many.
On Monday, she cried because she “felt dead inside and was growing up entirely too fast.”
On Tuesday, she screamed because her brother “accidentally” burnt down her Minecraft house.
Wednesday, she slept till noon.
Thursday, she was awake by 6am.
And Friday, she prayed that time would stand still so she could figure out which boy she liked.
I know how she feels…and I’m nowhere near 11.
I have cried at the thought that my baby is growing up.
I got emotional because the Spinach Salad I made on Thanksgiving was soggy and tasteless.
I openly wept at three different Christmas movies.
I raged when the new sweater I bought a few months back for our family Christmas pictures will now not even go over my head!
And I tossed a perfectly good Christmas tree in the trash because the lights. It’s always because of the lights!!
And now, as I look at this baby of mine, this sudden tween, lying in her Santa footy pajamas beside me, I cannot help but think to myself of all the things I want to tell her, all the things she might need to know someday. I want to whisper them, quietly of course, as to not alarm her…but I need her to always have these words. To look back at them a few years from now. So, I go to my stack of cards that I buy throughout the year and find the perfect one. I open it up and here is what I write:
Oh, Remi. It doesn’t get much easier, my love. I mean, Minecraft houses won’t continue to be a problem and chances are you will eventually figure out which boy you like, but the emotions – the tears, the laughter and the love – will only continue. It will continue until you are my age and then beyond.
You will be emotional on a Valentines that you spend alone.
And you will laugh hysterically with your girlfriends in your first college dorm.
You will miss your brother someday, even though right now that seems impossible.
And you will want to crawl up in my bed, right by me, after your first broken heart.
You will squeal with excitement when a ring is slipped on your finger and when you find out the child you’ve been hoping and praying for is on its way.
But you will shake with fear when the news is difficult and the doctor’s reports are bleak.
Don’t even get me started on adult friendships and how freaking hard they are! Sometimes you’ll be good at them and sometimes you’ll get hurt…sometimes you’ll need to forgive and other times you’ll need to hope they can forgive you.
There will be days you laugh until you cry; moments you experience profound joy, times you wish would last forever, memories you will treasure for a lifetime. There will be other times you hope to forget; pain you will find hard to erase, grief you will almost not be able to bear.
And it is that way for all of us, Remi, not just you. You are not alone in your joy and your pain, in your loss and your memories! Every person who has ever lived and loved and lost and learned has been subject to these things. They are the things that grow us, teach us, make us, heal us. And so tonight – my Scooby-Doo loving, Shawn Mendes listening, Fuller House watching, bubble bath taking, French fry eating, smoothie drinking, tweenager – I want you to know that everything you feel is real and wonderful and totally acceptable. So, feel it all! I’ll be right here with the tissues and the cookie dough, waiting on you, right by this twinkling tree…forever.
I close the card, seal it up and slide it under her pillow. Her daddy carries her to her bed and tucks her in and I go to sleep knowing she will find it tomorrow, or tomorrow night, or when she changes her sheets in seven months. It doesn’t matter when she reads it – it only matters that she reads it.
I’m not sure anyone ever left a card like that for you. I’m not sure anyone ever took your face in their hands and dried your tears. I don’t know if anyone let your hormones rage or your fears come crashing in. I don’t know if anyone sat on the couch with you and just let you, be you. So, if they didn’t…allow me.
Oh, friend. This holiday season, give yourself permission in a way that you haven’t in a really long time.
Give yourself permission to eat the fudge.
Give yourself permission to take the personal day.
Allow yourself to go to bed at 8 and sleep in till 10.
Eat cake for dinner and have a burger for breakfast.
Workout like a fiend or Netflix binge for nine hours.
Take a hot shower and curl up in the floor and cry – because no one can hear you cry in the shower.
Have a game night. Or say no to every single party you’re invited to.
Give yourself permission to feel mad and empty and angry and scorned.
Give yourself the freedom to laugh, to give, to heal and to forgive.
Grant yourself acceptance for all the parts you like and all the parts you don’t and make New Year’s resolutions not to change yourself, but to learn to love yourself.
This Christmas, turn the twinkling lights on, slip on your footy pajamas and fall asleep beside someone you love.
This Christmas, decide that you won’t be so busy that you can’t feel what needs to be felt, grieve what needs to be grieved, remember what needs to be remembered.
This season, feel it all. Go ahead! Because as bad as it might be you can always rest in the saving knowledge that your little brother did not set fire to your 3-d pixelated block home. And that’s a pretty big deal…when you’re 11.
Visit our Season of Joy page for more Christmas inspiration, including Christmas Messaging, Gift Guides, and Wrapping ideas!