Tag Archives: Letter to Katie

So That You May Know Her…

Dear Katie and Matthew,

Your grandmother is lying in a hospital bed tonight and she is dying. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, but very soon.

Daddy is with her, holding her hand and telling her just how much we all love her.

Neither of you will remember her and that breaks my heart.

There is so much about her that I want you both to know.

She was dynamic. She could quote Shakespeare, discuss philosophy, and sing and play the guitar. Daddy tells a childhood story of camping with her–he remembers her sweet voice singing over the crackling of the campfire. I wish I could have heard that.  I wish you could have heard that.

She was eclectic. I will never forget the outfit she wore to your Uncle Todd’s graduation. She was dressed from head to toe in the most vibrant shade of turquoise, complete with floppy hat and arms adorned with bangle bracelets that just sparkled in the sunlight. She was lit from within in that wild outfit and it suited her beautifully.

She was intelligent. She was a well-respected trauma nurse who pursued her education while raising three young boys. She saw so much in her days as a nurse that made her even more compassionate and empathetic.

She was kind. She was quick to tell you why you were special to her. She was so generous with her words and never missed an opportunity to tell you exactly what made you unique. Sometimes, she would make me blush with her compliments, but I always appreciated and welcomed them.

She was whimsical. She loved astrology and loved to tell you what your sign meant and how it impacted you. Daddy and I would roll our eyes, but that didn’t stop her–she believed it and it was endearing.

She was the most optimistic person I’ve ever known. Her glass, even in the most difficult of times, was always half full. When life dealt her a terrible hand, she found inner strength that astonished us.

She will live on in your daddy, who is the man that he is because of her. She taught him to be a gentleman, to be kind and courteous. It was from her that he learned how to treat women and how to respect others.

I want you each to know that she loved you. She was so happy to have grandchildren and you made her just light up. She exuded happiness when she spoke of all of the fun that you would have with her as you grew and I’m so sorry that you won’t have that opportunity. She would have caused all sorts of fun trouble with you.  She truly looked forward to being, in her words, “your partner in crime.”

I am so truly sorry that you didn’t have the opportunity to know her.

I promise to share all of my stories with you. I will do all that I can to keep her alive in my memory so that I can share her with you both.

She has had such a rough time of it. Now it is time for us to wish her peace.

With all of my love,
Mommy

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And Just Like That, She Turned Three…

Sweet Katie,

Today you turn three years old.

I feel as though I turned my back and you became a preschooler, full of curiosity and excitement, wishes and preferences. I want so badly to describe you, to find some way to summarize who you are in this moment, but I find that to be an impossible task.  You are complex and diverse.  My description is disjointed, as you are still putting together all of the pieces of who you are.

You are everything I ever dreamed that a daughter would be.

You are pure magic.  You taught me what it meant to be a mother and you teach me new lessons every day–lessons in patience, silliness, tenderness, and vulnerability.

You are silly and engaging. You love to giggle and you crave tickles.  These are moments that I will hold close for those days when you aren’t by my side.  I will never forget the sound of your laugh, the urgency in your eyes.

You have so much to say.  You got a late start, but since you began speaking, you talk so much that I keep thinking that we have certainly covered everything.  When I hear your voice, my heart cracks open with adoration and pride.

Though you are by nature a bit reserved and reluctant, when you open up, you are magnetic and engaging.  You are smart,  intuitive, and compassionate.

You are stunning.  Your hazel eyes sparkle and betray your thoughts.  It is so easy to see when you are making plans.

You are loving and kind.  When you reach for my hand or ask me to sit close to you, I would drop anything, Katie.  Nothing is more important than those moments with you, with your hand in mine.

Lately you’ve been asserting yourself a bit more and you are proving to be committed to the things that you want.  There are times when this exasperates me, but I’m also impressed with you.  I want you to learn how to hold firm when you want something and I am proud of you for communicating your wants so clearly.  Your vocabulary grows by the day, as does the complexity of your thoughts.  You are learning solid reasoning and debating skills and that makes me immeasurably happy.

Daddy and I realized last night that 1/6 of our time with you in our home is behind us.  I can’t fathom the day when you go off to college, when your world extends so far beyond us.  I hope that I have the strength and courage to let you go, but also the love and tenderness that makes you want to come back.

Thank you for bringing such beauty into my life.  Thank you for reminding me how wonderful it is to be silly and to giggle.  Thank you for lighting up when you see me.  You are a gift Katie.  I treasure my days with you and I am so incredibly grateful for you.

You have beautiful things in your future, Katie.

Above all, you are an angel, my beautiful, sweet girl.

Happy Birthday, Katie!

With a heart so full of love,

Mommy

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Some Thoughts on Playdough

Dear Katie,

Okay, so I don’t let you mix your playdough colors.  (Perhaps we’ll be paying for your therapy one day, but I’m willing to risk it.)

I have a couple of reasons for this…

1) I have OCD.  I won’t sugar coat it.  Something about the mixing of the colors makes me a little crazy.  I like things just so, and trust me, I have actually become far more laid back since you were born.

2) I was brought up in New England, and while you can take the girl out of Maine, you can’t take Maine out of the girl.  Mixing playdough (or staining your clothes, or breaking your toys, etc.) feels wasteful.  Your daddy and I were both raised by parents who had to make a little go a long way financially.  We didn’t have as much as many of our peers and we learned to take care of the things that we did have, as replacement toys, markers, shoes, clothes, etc. weren’t easy to come by.  I want you to have a bit of this in you.  I want you to treasure your things almost as though they are the last that you’ll have.  I want you to be respectful and conscientious; I want you to respect your things and those of others.  I don’t think that you can go wrong with viewing things as this special.  This is why we don’t buy you everything that we would like to (and trust me, it is an exercise in restraint, as we would love to give you the world).  We want you to experience the feeling of wanting something and then appreciating it once you have it; sometimes the beauty in having something is in the anticipation you feel before you actually have it.  You’ve already begun your birthday list for this year (trains, trains, and more trains!).  I like that you don’t think that we can just go to the store and buy you whatever you want.  Delayed gratification can be a good thing.

I also want you to realize how hard Daddy works so that Mommy can stay home with you.  I want you to know that life presents us with choices and I want you to learn that some things are worth sacrifice.  Yes, I know that you are two. But you won’t always be.  You will be 12, 22, 32…this is a lesson that I think will serve you well.  It is my sincere hope that others will appreciate your thoughtfulness, you will take pride in your things, and you will appreciate the little things in life.  You’re off to a great start, Katie.

Whew…strong feelings about playdough, huh?  😉

I love you,
Mommy

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