To my four young children,
I grew up the child of a single mother, who worked hard so that we could have a better life. I grew up the daughter to a man who wasn’t quite sure how to be a dad, until my mother married someone that did. I grew up often lonely, although surrounded by friends, always moving from place to place trying to find out where I fit in and who I belonged with. I grew up not wanting to really have kids, until one day I knew that being a mother was the biggest thing I could ever be.
As I sit in this airport, flight grounded, brain tired, I think of all of the things that your daddy and I hope for you. All those hopes that we carry with us as we try to shape your future, and your present, into something that will let you be the incredible people we see you as. So our dreams are many, our wishes are real, because right now there are so many things I hope you may never feel.
May you never feel the despair of losing someone unexpected. May death be a natural part of your life, much like living, and not be something that leaves you deep scars, whether real or imagined.
May you never feel the anguish of loved ones incarcerated or otherwise removed from you, leaving you wondering what happened and how you could have helped.
May you never feel like you are alone, like it will not get better, like there is no better way to cope.
May you never have to feel like there is something you could never possibly tell us, ashamed of your own actions, ashamed of events beyond your control or those of your friends. May you know that no matter what, we are there to support, to help, to be the kinds of parents we both had as we grew up.
May you always feel found. Feel seen. Feel heard.
May you always come back to feeling whole, even if for a while you didn’t.
May you always feel like you matter, like your voice matters, and that at the end of every day who you are and what you do makes a difference to the world.
May you make the natural foolish decisions that all adolescents seem to make without them altering the path you are on.
But if you ever find yourself in a situation you are not sure how you got into. If you ever find yourself wondering about something that you do not feel comfortable enough to discuss with us. If you ever wonder about some of the harder sides of life; may you find a library that carries books that will satiate your curiosity.
May you be taught by teachers who have the right to carry books in their classrooms that may have topics that can make grown ups pretty uncomfortable.
May you meet authors who dared to write books that didn’t fall into pretty boxes, who made us think, who made us question.
May you always be able to find a book that will give you the answers you were searching, so that you do not have to experience something instead.
May you always be able to explore safely within the pages of a book, within the conversations that teachers and librarians can facilitate in their schools, within the natural exploration that comes with being alive.
May you always have access to the books freely, much like I did growing up.
As your mother, I can only hope for so many things, but as an adult, as a teacher, I can speak up for books that need to be in the hands of students so they can learn about a world that hopefully does not mirror their own.
May you find what you are looking for, whenever you search, and may you have great teachers and librarians there to guide you as you do.