Dear Cassidy and Jacob,
This letter may come as a shock to you down the road. It may be hard to believe but everything that Mommy and Daddy say…. well, it’s not all true. Trust me, I want you to worship us and I want you to trust us but there are just some things that we lie about. As a parent, I never set out to tell lies or make up stories but at some point they just came to be.
Some lies were to teach a lesson. Some lies were to protect you from something. Some lies were to get you to do something. Some lies were to create a little bit of fairy tale in this dreadful world. All of the lies however, were told with the best of intentions and hopefully when you have children of your own you will understand what I mean completely.
We don’t mean harm in these small fibs that we tell and honestly, I can remember my parents saying some of them to me. I turned out ok, and I am sure that you will too.That said, here is a list of a few of the lies and the reasons why we said them.
1. Sticks and stones will break your bones but words can never hurt you. Yup this is one that my parents told to me. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Well, the first part is true. Sticks and stones can in fact break your bones. So you see, we aren’t terrible parents after all. The rest of the line, however… is a stretch.
I think I first used this line on you Cassidy, when you came home and told me that a little boy on your bus said something that made you sad. I think the lie came out almost out of instinct. I don’t want to see your feelings hurt by anyone so I guess it was second nature to say that words can never hurt you. It was like I was empowering you to not care what words were spewed by this little boy.
Now, here is the truth. Words do in fact hurt you. They may not break bones but they sure can break your heart. The toughest weapons sometimes are that of language and I hope that you never learn to use your words in a way that could hurt another. We all say things from time to time that can sting another person. Sometimes in a fit of rage we say things that we wouldn’t normally. The trouble is that words can hurt so much deeper than the wounds of an actual weapon.
Once the pain has been caused it can not be taken back. I remember saying that I hate my mom once. I can’t ever forget how much it hurt her. She may no longer think about it and her wound may have healed but I can never forget the look on her face when I said it. Both of you have said this same phrase to me, and I while I realize that you are both young and do not know what you are saying, I hope that some day you will realize how much a few words can actually hurt someone.
This brings me to the next lie.
2. When you say you hate someone it puts a hole in their heart. I said this to you, Cassidy, the very first time you said that you hated me. You are a stubborn little girl with a fiery temper like someone else that I know. You say things that you don’t mean and regret them later. An apology does help, but I want you to know that sometimes it is best not to say such intense words when you don’t mean them.
I told you that you put a hole in my heart and that I could feel the pain. I wanted you to visualize the actual hole that was created in my heart from your words. I wasn’t trying to scare you but I wanted you to understand how much pain was caused from your words. If you punch someone and leave a bruise then it is easy to see the proof of pain that was inflicted. When you use words to hurt someone, you can’t necessarily see the pain.
No there wasn’t a real hole in my heart. Sorry if this one scared you.
3. I go to work everyday to save up for a trip to Disney. By the time you read this, I hope that we have made it to Disney, but…… I am not actually working day after day to pay for it. Daddy and I actually work each day to pay for all of the other things that we give you guys each day. You know the meaningless stuff like a house to live in, food to eat, clothes to wear, books to read, toys to play with. You know the boring stuff.
I don’t tell you this lie with the intention of never going to Disney. In fact, I really do hope to make it there some day sooner than later. The trouble is that in the list of things that are needed and wanted in our house, Disney tends to fall to the bottom of the list of priorities. For that I am sorry, but like I said, I do hope to make it there for real some day.
4. I would never throw away your “art” or “crafts”. This is mostly a lie that I tell. Daddy isn’t too involved in this one. I guess it is my need to not have clutter everywhere that takes over and I have to throw some things away. Don’t feel too bad, I have thrown things of Daddy’s away too.
Really I hope that you understand some day that I just could not keep every scrap of paper that you think is a masterpiece. Some of them are literally a scrap of paper. In your eyes it may be something magical but if I kept them all, we would eventually be buried in magic. I do love your art and I do keep most of it. I am not cold and heartless. I just choose the pieces that are more well thought out than ripped paper, that’s all.
5. I will never leave you. While I would like this one to be true, I actually have little control over it. I want you to understand that someday, hopefully very, very, long from now, I will in fact leave you. We will all pass on at some point and I want you to know that even if it is my turn, that I will always be with you in your heart.
Daddy and I have an important job of raising the two of you. Everything that we teach you, is so that some day when we are gone, you can care for yourselves and each other. We are working hard to give you the tools to survive without us. We would love to be with you always, but the truth is that at some point we all move on.
6. Mommy and Daddy need a nap. We must seem very lazy to you but the truth is that usually we do not need a nap at ten in the morning. Sometimes we say this just to get away from the noise that you two create and sometimes we use this line so that we can snuggle. By snuggle I mean argue behind closed doors or actually snuggle.
Really, it comes down to the fact that Daddy and I wouldn’t like each other very much if we couldn’t spend some time alone. We need this time to focus on each other because the rest of our day focuses on anyone but. You two take up most of my time and effort for sure. I find the work rewarding but difficult and draining at times. Sometimes a half hour away is just what I need to recharge and start again.
All that said, sometimes we actually stayed up too late the night before and really need a nap.
7. Watching tv turns your brain to mush. This is a lie that I sort of snicker in my head when I say it. I picture your actual brains melting down and sloshing around inside of your heads. I wonder if that is the picture that you get also. We tell this lie mostly because we don’t want you glued to the tv. The reason we don’t want you glued to the tv is because it will only make you miss out on life.
There are a million things that you could be doing instead of watching a piece of glass with flashing lights. You miss out on so much when that thing is on. I agree that some shows have an educational value but you will learn more from life any day of the week. There are lessons and teachable moments around every corner and experiences that would be missed if your eyes were glued to the tube.
8. If you don’t clean up, I am throwing these toys away. I would love to actually make this lie come true but the truth is that Daddy and I work way to hard to toss money in the garbage. That said, you should know that toys do cost money, they are not free and when we ask you to put them away it is because we want you to care for the things that we have given to you.
Each toy represents time that we have had to spend away from you working. It stinks. We don’t actually like working and would rather not, but we do. We want you to care for your things and respect the time that we have sacrificed to earn them. This is a lesson that will take time to learn and by the time you read this, you better have it down, or Daddy and I really suck.
We really shouldn’t make threats that we are never going to keep but in the moment it is the first thing that comes to mind. I have even pulled out garbage bags a few times but the whole time I knew that I’d never really throw them away. I know, it is crappy but I will laugh the first time I hear you say it to your own kids. If you never have to use this one, then you should write a book and teach others because you are amazing!
9. In a minute. This isn’t even a whole phrase but it goes with many. We can go outside in a minute, I will turn on the tv in a minute. I will be there in a minute. This is always a lie. A minute is sixty seconds and Daddy and I almost always are too slow to actually only mean a minute. We use this phrase to get you to stop pressuring us. We’d like to move faster but we just don’t. We no longer have the energy or stamina that you both have and we take longer than a minute to do almost everything. If we say in a minute, we are almost always lying.
10. We are almost there. I say this sometimes when I am barely out of the driveway. If it will suffice you both to stop asking how much longer than I will use it again. I would love some day to teleport from one location to another but until that technology comes about we will have to do it the old fashioned way.
Trust me, Daddy and I try not to plan trips in the car with you both unless they are quick. We do that for our own sanity not yours. I have little desire to ride in a car with you guys for longer than fifteen minutes but sometimes it is a must. Every time you ask, I will probably have the same response. “We are almost there.”
Hopefully you don’t think that Daddy and I are too terrible for telling lies. Like I said, we don’t tell them just for kicks. Honestly, there is probably many more that we tell than just these ten. Some day you will probably use them too, and when you do, I promise not to tell my grandkids the truth.