Empathy. I’ve always been a sensitive person and I feel other people’s pain and happiness almost to a fault. This is why you’ve seen me cry at movies, tv shows, commercials, and novels. I don’t always cry at every sad thing I see but I can instantly put myself in another person’s shoes, even fictional. If I see someone is engaged or having a baby I can’t wipe the grin from my face. If something sad has happened to someone I know or a stranger I can’t stop thinking about that person and what they must be feeling. Feeling other people’s emotions helps me connect to those around me. Makes me feel human and reminds me that we are all human.

I might not have travelled the same path, but I’ve stumbled. I’ve kicked rocks beneath my feet. I’ve been stuck in the mud during a downpour. I’ve tripped over my feet and fell on my ass. I’ve stopped at crossroads. We all have. There’s a story behind every person’s eyes. If we are that self absorbed that we can’t see beyond our own wants and desires then we should no longer be the human race. Without empathy we cannot survive as the human race. So put your own selfishness away for a moment, think about those around you. Think about how terrified those children were during the school day. Think about how terrified those parents were finding out. Imagine going about your mundane life and hearing shots out of nowhere. Imagine your heart racing. Imagine your feet can’t move fast enough. Imagine being struck by a bullet. Imagine watching your closest friend being struck. Imagine your child or granddaughter. The idea is heartbreaking. My chest is tight and I can’t breathe thinking about it. These are the times we live in. There needs to be change and if you can’t see that, then you’re not human.

Teach your child empathy. If you want the human race to continue, teach and show empathy to your children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and neighbors and strangers.


Dear Florence,

If I’m gone tomorrow, please continue your love and appreciation for art. Always make time for it. Do not push it aside. Let it be a part of your daily life.

It’s been a peaceful morning of watercoloring. Your love for drawing has been apparent for over a year now. I’ll never forget the first time you surprised us with a face on your new easel. You slowly add new features as your ability grows. You add limbs, smiles, and hair now. I haven’t made art as much as I wish to in the last decade. My preferred style is realism and I hope to show you my favorite portraits some day. Your ability at a young age astounds me. Lately, you’ve been making objects and places, bananas or the hospital with newborn Charlie. You’re exploring your talent and it’s neat to watch your progression.

I dreamt of having an artistic child one day. One to play pretend with. One to share my artistic eye with. One to share my appreciation for nature. One to share my love for colors and different elements of art. Your eyes are filled with imagination and appreciation for the beauty in the world. You point out when an object resembles a heart shape. You notice the sunset and enthusiastically call to me to watch it with you often. You pointed out the moon at age one. The look in your eyes was unforgettable. You love the rainbow. You know that yellow and blue make the color green. You try very hard to color inside the lines already. Your patient with your art. You frequently make creations for others. Today you made artwork for a teacher’s assistant. I can’t wait to watch you give it to her.

I hope no one ever stifles your creativity. I hope no one ever crushes your imagination. I hope you always feel free to create exactly how you want to or learn to enjoy your happy little accidents. I hope to sit and watch Bob Ross with you, like I spent hours with my grandma, another fellow artist. I hope one day we can sit and create pieces together. You have yet to see my ability. I make excuses. I let life get in the way. Today that stops. You have conjured up this beast I’ve pushed aside for too many years. After watching you this morning, I feel inspired to create. I’ve been writing daily for several months now and it feeds this beast but I’m craving something more. A new artistic outlet and am ready to jump back into my passion of making art. Thank you.

Daily prompt- Conjure

Dear Children,

If I’m gone tomorrow, I hope my parenting has laid a foundation of trust. Trust that we will always listen. Trust that we will help you in any way feasible. Trust that we won’t harm you. Trust in reliability. Trust in honesty. Trust that we want the best for you. Trust in our parenting. 

My trust has been broken more times than I can count. My father. My best friend. My boyfriend. My friend’s parents. My friend’s parent’s friends. So many stranger’s. My sister’s boyfriend. People I thought were supposed to know boundaries. People I thought were supposed to know how to treat others. During childhood and teen years, I put a cement wall up.  I wouldn’t let people too close. I avoided being alone with people. I don’t like crowds. I don’t trust others. Unfortunately it has made life difficult to live that way. You miss out. You’re constantly thinking what will happen next. You don’t enjoy hugs. You’re squirmish by things you shouldn’t be. You don’t want to open up your heart. You don’t want to meet new people. The list of cons go on and on.

When I was learning to drive at 15, my older sister was teaching me and I asked her, “how do you know that a car isn’t going to ram right into you! How do you relax?” She simply said, “you trust the other drivers on the road and pay attention to signs of bad driving and do your best to avoid them.” This idea of trusting stranger’s was so foreign to me.

Over the last decade, I’ve worked on myself and learning to take down that wall. Learned how to trust again. Learned how to listen to my gut. Learned how to be selective on who I let into my life. Learned how to trust others. I hope I can give you these tools so you can live a carefree childhood. So you can be happy. So you can live your best life. So you can trust in yourself and trust in others. So you can surround yourself with love rather than a cement wall.

Dear Children,

If I’m gone tomorrow, it’s okay not to always have it together. It’s okay to take a day or two off. It’s okay to unwind, unplug, be lazy. It’s okay to recharge until that motivation kicks back in. 

I haven’t written a blog post in several weeks. I keep telling myself it’s because the holidays and the colds that have made their rounds. But honestly, I’ve started several posts but they’ve been left unfinished. I’m lacking inspiration and motivation.  When I write a post, I need it to be free flowing. I need it to come from deep down. I need it to come out of nowhere. I need it to help me work through something. Sometimes I need it to work through things I didn’t know needed to be worked through.

Part of me thinks it’s because I have this lack of motivation. Over the last two months we have had colds and ear infections and teething and parties and the holidays. It’s been go, go, go. I feel exhausted. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to think about all of the things I’ve put off until the new year. That list is too long and intimidating right now. I don’t want to read any motivational quotes or posts. I don’t want to workout. I don’t want to organize. I don’t want to follow-up on anything.

So today, I’m choosing to be lazy. I’m going to cuddle you sick, tired babies. I’m going to ignore the rest of the Christmas decorations (yes, I’m a procrastinator). Eat some store bought brownies. And relax. I’m not going to get anxious. I’m not going to feel bad about myself. I’ll get to my resolutions later. That list will be there tomorrow. 

Dear Charlie,

If I’m gone tomorrow, this is how you were at ten months old. 

You remind me of  Florence at 16 months old. You are defiant. You don’t have time for diaper changes or clothes. You walk, try to run, can go from sitting to standing without holding onto something. You are incredibly sturdy and balanced. You love playing chase with Flo. You love hiding while I legitimately search for you. You try to run away when you have something you shouldn’t. You are a rowdy one. You love to tackle and roll around. You like wheels and try to push toy trucks. You will take an object and hit it against something to make loud noises. You like to play piano. You say dadda, mommy, dog, all done, night-night, no. You love me holding you with your favorite blankets until you fall asleep (most of the time I love this too). You throw small tantrums when you don’t get your way. You are a very stubborn and determined little guy. You have 6 teeth and working hard on #7.  You love bath time still. You’re favorite foods include bread, meat, and beans. 

Your smile is everything. You are a sweetheart and love to give hugs. I am enjoying seeing your personality form even the stubbornness. I hope I’m here tomorrow to witness you’re next move, adventure, and phase. 

Dear Children,

If I’m gone tomorrow, please give.

I love giving to everyone, whether I know you or not. I will spend hours, days, weeks, months searching for the best gift that I know someone will appreciate. If I walk passed or drive passed a person in need, I never hesitate, I never question. I try to avoid being cynical. I give within my means. I’ve given dinners. I’ve given gift cards. I’ve given cash. I’ve given water. I’ve given free hugs. I’ve given the best presents. I’ve given time. I’ve given advice. It’s my way to show love to the world and the people in it. I wish I could give more often.

This year we have spent December rummaging through closets, bins of toys, dressers to give toys and clothes and wintery items away. My favorite part has been Flo’s involvement! She says we are “giving toys to a baby that needs them!” She lit up with joy every time and had no problem parting with her things. And of course, Charlie’s things. She only wishes she could watch the baby open the gifts. The last couple years, Flo has made handmade gifts as presents. Getting her involved in this way has helped her realize how special giving can be.

But more than giving gifts, it’s important to be kind too. You can make anyone’s day with a smile and politeness. We need more smiles like yours in the world. In a world of chaos with the hustle and bustle, taking a minute to hold the door open for someone could turn their whole day around. Go the extra mile for someone but not for their recognition. Do it because it’s the right thing to do. They may not notice but don’t get hung up on receiving anything in return because you may get disappointed. Simply give, for the act of giving. Because it feels good and because it might turn someone’s day around. So get out there and give. And give often.

Dear Ex best friend,

If I’m gone tomorrow, please know I hope you nothing but the best.

Scrolling through Facebook, I saw you’re engaged. I know we will never speak. Or hug. Or ever, ever be on that level of friendship again. But when I saw this post, I didn’t feel angry towards you. I didn’t feel envious or jealous. I felt sad. I felt sad because in another timeline I would be next to you, jumping up and down as you told me the news of your engagement. I would be hugging you endlessly with joy. I would be grinning from ear to ear as you told me the story of how he proposed and you said yes. I would know the guy you are spending the rest of your life with. I would be planning your wedding. I would know the details in and out. I would be helping you pick your favorite wedding gown. I would be pinning ideas for hours. I would be writing my speech.

Instead I’m here, and you’re there, very far away. So far, that I have no idea where you’re at. Or what you do on a Sunday night. Or where you call home. Or what this fiance’s name is. 

Now when our paths cross, my heart sinks to the floor. I can’t do much other than look away and take a deep breath. I know we are no longer friends. Once trust is broken, it’s extremely difficult to pick up the pieces. And I was not equipped to do so at 18 years old.

You will never read this so instead I’m sending happy thoughts to you. And warm smiles as I lay here with my child whom you’ll never know. Regardless of the pain you caused me, I can say, I wish you joy and happiness in life and I hope the very best for you. Now I can honestly say the next time you pop up on my Facebook feed, I won’t feel sad but happy that you are happy. 

Dear Florence,

If I’m gone tomorrow, remember age really is nothing but a number.

Last night, Daddy asked you if you would love him when he’s an old man. You simply said, “nope!” Which made your dad sad for a moment. Then you thought about it. You hugged him tight and very dramatically said, “I don’t want you to be an old man!” He is always good on the spot. He said, “don’t worry we all grow old a little bit each day and you won’t even notice.” To your dad, age really is just a number without much weight to it. Your experiences and phases of life, age you more than the number of years you’ve been on Earth.

When we ask how old you are, you’re response is “2 old” and you hold up two fingers. And I always say, “yes, you are too old.” I’ve always been more sentimental with age and growing older. I remember vividly being anxious about turning 30. Now looking back, I’ve realized I was more anxious about the things I wanted to accomplish by age 30 rather than the number itself. Even as a preteen, I hung out with teenagers and would act as a teen. I have always either tried to move onto the next phase of life or I’ve tried to avoid growing older. I need to learn to live in the moment and not focus on the next age or phase or event that happens. Enjoy every phase of life. Don’t try to rush through each phase. Be a kid. Be a teenager. Be a young adult. Be an adult. 

But if there comes a day, when you are anxious or feeling bad about your age, it’s only natural. Try to remain calm. Think about all of the things you’ve accomplished. Don’t get hung up on growing older. Age gracefully. Take it one day at a time. We have no control over time. We have control over the moment you’re currently in. Enjoy every age and phase of life! 

Dear sisters,

If I’m gone tomorrow, remember every laugh.

We get each other on the purest level. Every joke, every sarcastic remark, every snide comment, every  every emotion, every nonverbal communication. There’s no decoding what we say or don’t say out loud. You get me and I get you. You understand me and I understand you. That’s probably why we get so infuriated with each other too. Sisters…the purest friend. I don’t have to explain myself. I talk and you understand every word. I don’t speak and you still understand. Probably because we have been communicating our entire lives. We spend our time reminiscing. Speaking of the past as if no time has passed at all. There’s no forgetting stories. We tell stories and the memories come flooding back. We spend our time laughing. I can’t breathe. My cheeks hurt. My stomach muscles are tight. Who needs to work out. I would rather spend my time almost peeing my pants in giggles. We don’t need wine. Although it tastes so good. We don’t need anything but time. Time to be carefree. Time to reminisce. Time to be together.

But seriously thank you for always bringing out my child-like, goofy, carefree side. It’s refreshing laughing the night away with you. You bring me back to life. I get caught up in the mundane tasks. I get caught up being an adult. You bring me out to play. You bring me back to life.

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