When they were younger (3 or 4), the conversations were short and brief. Their worries were simple things that I could always figure out. I almost enjoyed those opportunites, so I could show them how easy the solutions really were.
But now, as they get older, some of their questions and concerns have become harder to address.
Things in our extended family life have been challenging this past holiday. Disagreements from years ago resurfaced, certain family members didn't attend holiday gatherings, and feelings of hurt and anger that were long covered over have made their ugly way to the top - during what should have been a joyous time of year.
And while I try to shield my kids from much of that negativity, my now 10 year old is much more in tune to what is happening in her world, and asks more questions than she has previously. If someone isn't there, she gets it - and wants to know why. It's not always easy to answer those questions . . but I try to do so as best as I can, with honesty and with love, and make sure that she understands that 1) the choices people have made in our world have nothing to do with her or Ella, and 2) the most important thing that we can do is to continue to treat people as we want to be treated, and to continue to love.
It is sad that the hardest lessons I've had to teach my children have to do with the unkind actions of adults.
Let's allow that to soak in a little bit.
Sometimes I wonder if I am doing them a disservice. Am I not raising them to be tough? Will people walk all over them when they are older? But in my heart, I know that what I am doing is right. My faith has grown so very much in recent years, and it is through that faith that I try to always lead them. It's not easy - but I know I am better because of it.
We have choices, each and every one of us. When we open our eyes and begin our day, we make a conscious decision as to the type of day we want to live. We can choose to look at the negative and surround ourselves with pain. We can choose to drown ourselves in self pity and regret. We can choose to relive the past, hang on to the hurt, and spread that negativity to all we come in contact with.
Who truly wants to live their life that way? And, who wants to be around that?
I do not.
So I choose to wake each day, and do my best to make it better than the last. I choose to let go of the anger. To forgive the hurt. I choose to focus on the good. Focus on what matters. Encourage my children by surrounding them with positive. And I pray that by living my life this way, I am raising my daughters to do the same.
I don't blame you, or anyone, for the life I am living. Likewise, I do not look towards you, or anyone, to make make my life better.
It is in the choices we make, each and every day.
Sometimes I wonder if they get it . . . My girls.
But then, as I am cleaning up scrap papers and little bits of their busy work I find here or there, I see these gentle messages they are putting out into the world that tell me they do.
They get it. I might not understand exactly what it is they are getting (based on this little drawing Ella, my 6 year old left) . . . but I know that deep in their souls, they have a message they want to put out into the world. They understand what they are trying to say. And they aren't afraid to share it.
And I couldn't be prouder.