Friday, March 11, 2016

Dear, Cassie,

We met about a year ago, but I was in a place where I was trying to think positively and I thought your sad story would hinder any progress I was trying to make. Here I am, a year later, in the middle of a mess, and I found myself drawn to you again. I'm not trying to "stay positive," and I'm just trying to feel things and function and cope with life day by day. And, funny thing is, I think I found so much comfort in you. In what I thought was your sad story. And I'm humbled by how wrong I was a year ago. Your story is not sad; your story is difficult, maybe a little messy, but it is far from sad--it's inspirational, and uplifting, and encouraging. And it's exactly what I needed to hear.

Your struggles have been real. You ran with your first love and it turned out to be something completely different than you had anticipated--your love story turned into an abusive relationship; the love story you left everything for, believed in without a doubt... You left and had nothing, not even a family to support you.

I feel so silly for thinking there was nothing to learn from you a year ago. You are the definition of strong; you are a fine example for women everywhere.

I found so much comfort in hearing your story. You are just so real. You're a girl busting her butt to do the best she can for her kid. And that's all I want in life too. To work hard, have a happy kid, and find some happiness myself. You fell down, and you got back up. And when you fell down again, you got back up again. Out of the ashes, you got more than you ever could have imagined. Not only did you get your family back, but you found a new one, and you turned your life into something you never could have imagined.  I know it's not easy, but you make it seem so easy. You provide hope that there is, well, hope.

I have a wonderful family--more wonderful than I ever could have imagined. And they will support me in everything I do. They will pick me up when I fall, and I probably will. And I feel grateful for that, especially knowing that there are girls out there like you who are going through far more difficult struggles. You had to support yourself and pick yourself up, and there's something so admirable in that. It's usually when we're at our worst that we realize how much we're actually worth. And you, my friend, have soared. I couldn't be happier for you. You deserve everything you've gotten and so much more.

You're an inspiration to me, and women everywhere--to do the right thing, to believe in themselves, to reach for the stars. So, thank you. Thank you for giving me courage, and hope, and strength. Thank you for going through the situations you did, and coming out on top, a role model for all us girls struggling. Thank you for being you, and for sharing your story.

Not-so-strugglingly Yours,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dear Peter,

I have so many emotions toward you, and I'm not 100 percent how I feel yet; but the more I hear your side of the story, the more I feel bad for you. You killed TEN people. You killed ten kids; ten of your peers; ten daughters and/or sons. You brutally, thought-out, plainly killed people. Their mothers and fathers will never hold them again; they'll never see them smile; they'll never hear them laugh; they'll never see them graduate and grow up into the adults they were supposed to be.

Yet, I'm feeling sorry for you. Of course I have empathy for the families that were impacted by your shooting. Of course I think what you did was wrong. Of course I find it terrible and disgusting, and don't understand why you chose to do what you did. But, I still feel sorry for you.

The truth is, yes you killed those kids. But honestly, those kids were just as much responsible as you were. I realize most everyone in the world will disagree with me. I realize people will think I am crazy and insensitive and just a huge jerk. But honestly, bullying is not something to be taken lightly. Your lawyer compares it to the Battered Wife Syndrome, and he's totally on to something. There's a point where you just can't take it any more. There's a point where they break you down so much, you will do anything to make it stop.

Our society has this sick view that we should be fixing the bullied; when in reality we should be fixing the bullies. For kids to get away with tearing down their peers, for shoving kids into lockers, for judging their choices--it's just not right. Yet, we think that if the bullied kid will just stick up for himself, or get better clothes, or wear a different backpack things will get better. No. That's only potentially fixing one half of the problem. What about the kids with mean hearts? What about the kids who only care about themselves? What about the kids who are tormenting, and picking on, and being barbarians toward their schoolmates? What happens to them? In a lot of cases: nothing.

That's not to say punishments are not forced; and it's not to say that teachers, principals, and parents are not trying to turn these bullies in a different direction. I sincerely think a lot of them are. However, they weren't in your case. And, you broke.

I think that's why I feel so much empathy for you. You were broken. You were beaten down and defeated. You were like a battered wife; if you didn't get out, you were going to die. Maybe metaphorically, maybe literally. And that's why I can't help but "side" with you. Have you ever heard the phrase "I love you, but I don't love what you're doing"? I think that's how I feel. I in no way condone your behavior; but in a weird way I understand it.

You are a broken, lost, scared person. You are lonely. You are tired. You are sad. But most of all, you're mad. And you have every right to be.

You remind me of my own son. Not that he's lost or broken or sad; he's only one, so he's on top of the world. But you remind me that I need to love him, I need to show him that I love him, I need to support him, and I need to defend him. I don't want him to toss my letters aside, I don't want him to dread seeing me, I don't ever want him to think I would prefer he weren't around. And I'm sorry you were never able to get that from your mother.

So while I'm not going to be cheering for the defense, I just wanted you to know that there is someone out there who doesn't hate you; there's someone out there who doesn't think you're a monster. You're not a monster. You need help, and you need attention, and you need love.

And I'm so sorry you never got any of that.

Understandingly yours,

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dear Lydia,

I'm a little embarrassed to tell you how much I appreciate your sharing life on Blossom Street with me. I'm a young, somewhat trendy, twenty-something, which surely means I should find your stories about knitting and people close to twice my age boring and unimportant. But visiting A Good Yarn and meeting all your customers and classmates makes me feel so connected to something. You've let me into your life and into your store, you've shared your friends and your town, and you've shown me that we're all connected even when we don't feel like it.

I don't knit or crochet, although I've tried to learn many times (I haven't found a lefty teacher yet), yet being at A Good Yarn is so calming; and in my profession(s), I can use all the calm and stress-reduction I can get. Working in the publishing industry and having a one-year-old makes social engagements and time for friends and time for myself pretty non-existent, so I'll take the girl-time in whatever form I can get it.

But more than that, it's comforting to hear about people's everyday struggles. I often get the feeling that I need to be the perfect wife, perfect mother, and perfect employee; but on a day like today, two cups of coffee down and still feeling like I need a nap (and a makeover), it feels impossible. And it's true. I can't be the perfect wife, or the perfect mother, or the perfect employee. I can try my hardest, do my best, and give it my all; but perfection--it's not in my DNA, as badly as I want it to be. We're not wired to be perfect human beings--maybe someday, but definitely not today.

Meeting you and the other ladies on Blossom Street reminds me that I am not going to be perfect, I probably won't even be close to it. But you've taught me I'm lucky to be here; Margret's taught me life could be worse; Alix has taught me that being unique to myself can be better than perfection; and Colette, she taught me that fear, while can be debilitating at times, is an incredible virtue.

The business on Blossom Street reason wakes me up. It makes me realize to slow down. To appreciate what I have. To let go of the stress on my shoulders. But it also reminds me that I can do what I set my mind to. That I can be the best person I can be. That I can constantly push myself. It seems weird, right? That you remind me to slow down yet keeping pushing at the same time. I can't explain it, but I guess just hearing what all you ladies go through reminds me 1) to love my family, to love my friends, and to appreciate what I have, and 2) that working hard pays off, that the support of family and friends will take me farther than I thought I'd ever be able to go, that while I'm not perfect I'm doing a pretty fine job at life.

See, none of you are perfect. You all make mistakes. Yet, life on Blossom Street is so appealing. It makes me realize that the grass isn't greener on the other side. And it makes me realize--there are probably people out there who are envious of my life. Mine! We're all different, we're all imperfect, and we're all living such wonderful stories.

So I'll sweat while I chase my son around, I won't do the dishes before I go to bed, and I probably won't finish working on the manuscript I need to; but there's always tomorrow to improve. For now, I'm going to enjoy what I have; I'm going to appreciate the laughing voices of my husband and son; I'm going to feel the love I have inside of me grown. Because that is what life is really about--the meaningful relationships.

Thanking you for the reminder,


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dear Paige,

When I first heard your story I was intrigued because I, like you, had a brand new baby boy. He's going to be one on Monday and for some reason I find myself reflecting on your story this morning. I'm dealing with my first "sick baby" time--I think it's just teething, but he's got a fever, and he's fussy, and just wants to cuddle. And the pain I feel in my heart for him made me think of how you could even leave your child. I thought, if I hurt this much just from his being a little under the weather, how could Paige have just left Max?

I can understand the overwhelming feeling you had with your husband at work all the time, and your not leaving the house, and the baby fussing. I totally get that. I get overwhelmed on the weekends sometimes, and I have the opportunity to go to work Monday through Friday and do adult things. But still, to just leave? Especially after months when you've had the chance to bond and really form a relationship with him.

Didn't your heart just die? Wasn't the longing for him unbearable? Weren't you mad to be missing such big milestones in his life?

Or does this make me a really clingy mom? I worry sometimes that I am. Going one day without my son makes me fidgety. The idea of him starting to walk while I'm away at work makes me want to quit my job. I miss him so much while I'm at work, yet I'm only away for nine or ten hours. To miss him for weeks? I honestly think I'd die. Or end up in a mental institution.

And I've heard that phrase "never judge a mother" or something like that. And I really do try to live by that. You never know someone's whole situation. You never know what goes on behind closed doors. And I of all people know this is completely true; you never know what goes on in another person's home. Ever. And even with a glimpse into yours, I really try not to judge. I can understand why you left. I can see your reasoning, and that you just snapped. You didn't really want to go, but for your own sanity you had to go. Sometimes we just get to our braking point and something has to change. It happens to me. And I can certainly understand you snapping since you had mommy issues to begin with.

I am glad you found her though. I think it "fixed" something in you. I think it did something for you that would have ate at you forever. You became a mother with the mentality that you were never supposed to have become a mother. And that's not fair for you or for Max. So I'm glad that you did what you needed to do to become the best mother you could be for Max.

But I will admit, I just didn't think I was going to be able to finish your story. I came into it because we had our son's ages in common. I thought, this will be interesting. But I'll be honest, I just got mad at you kind of. How could you not love your son as much as I love mine? And there I went judging you again. Just because you snapped doesn't mean your don't love your son. Just because you left doesn't mean you don't want what's best for him. Right? You really challenged me. You really taught me that the whole "don't judge other mothers" thing is so true. You taught me understanding and empathy and you even taught me a little bit about love. In a weird way.

I hope you have found happiness. I hope you have found yourself through your son. I hope that he makes you feel full and accomplished and special. I hope that maybe one day my love story, my relationship with my son, can inspire you. Because yours, as much as I don't understand it, has inspired me. It's taught me to hold my son tight, to let go when I need to, and to listen to what's in our hearts. It's not just about me--it's about him too. And you reminded me of that.

Hugging my son,

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dear, Sarah,

I've been contemplating what I wanted to say to you for some time now. And I just can't figure it out. It's not often that I have this difficulty. But even after a month of having time to mull it over in my mind, I just don't know what to say to you. That doesn't mean I like you any less than others, I just haven't fully decided how I like you.

There's the fact that you were able to escape your dirt bag husband. That says a lot. That shows strength. And I commend you for that.

But then, on the other side, you cling to Miles like a baby to his mother. And that, it kind of shows weakness. Not weakness in the vain of "you're a weak person," but the fact that you kind of clung on to the first man to show you affection. And don't get me wrong, Miles is GREAT. He really is.

I guess I don't really know what I'm saying. Do you see what my problem is here?

It really all started when you were telling me about the time Miles found out your brother is the one that killed his wife. You were just so reserved and offsetting and, dare I say, whiny. And I guess I can't say this is a wrong reaction, since I have no idea how I would react in this situation. But it just seems just seems like you would have reacted differently. I get not wanting your brother to get in trouble. And I understand not wanting to hurt the man you love. But why didn't you say anything? You had a chance to talk to Miles, you had the chance to explain yourself, and you didn't. I get that it would have been hard. Really hard. But if it meant loosing him forever...DO IT. He overreacted, as one can expect. He made assumptions, as one could expect. He was hurt, as one can expect. So wasn't it up to you to try and help him, to set him straight, to show him.

And like I said, this didn't make me not like you or your story, it just made me sit back and think, humph. And that's it. There was no connection, no hatred, no enthusiasm. It just was. And I think that's why I don't really know what to say to you. Your story was sad, but it wasn't tragic. It was touching, but it wasn't inspiring. It was just too mixed.

Maybe I'll end up with this amazing ephiphany and I'll totally understand the meaning of it all, and then I'll totally change my mind--in which case I'll let you know. But for now, this is all I have to offer. Humph. 

Confusidly yours,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dear, Emaline,

It's been a while since I've sat down and written a letter. I feel kind of guilty about that. But a lot of things have changed. I moved across the country (again), I had a baby boy, I got a new career--you know, nothing significant. I guess all that's to say that I come to you with a different view on life. I've followed some of your friends/acquaintances/neighbors for quite some time, and I wondered, Will I feel the same about Colby and the stories that come out of this little beach town now that I'm, you know, "grown up"? I honestly wasn't sure. But I did know this: some of my most fond memories were in Colby; I met wonderful people; I fell in love (I think); I visited time and time again, not getting enough of the residents/tourists/etc.

So, when I found out I was going to be meeting you, I was nervous. I was scared. I was worried that everything I had known would change. Because I had irrevocably, undeniably changed. But you taught me something. We all change. We will. It's just a part of human nature. What matters, however, is how we accept it, how we handle it, and how we let it impact our beings..
have changed since the last time I wrote; I moved across the country (again), I had a baby boy, I started a new an actual

While our changes are much different--you're going to college, I'm having a baby; you're staying in your small town, I'm going back to mine--we're not so different, you and I.

I mean, I know you haven't decided yet if you're going to leave Colby (or at least, you haven't told me), but I have a sneaking suspicion you will. If you're meant to be somewhere bigger in this world, you'll get there some how. I am painfully shy; I am a complete introvert; I'm more comfortable hiding in my twins' shadow. With all that being said though, I took off--I flew away from the small town. And no one was more shocked than I was. First, it was just a few hours to a slightly bigger town for college, then across the country for work. And you know what, it was awesome. It was the best thing that's ever happened to me. I don't have to hide anymore; I'm still shy, but I'll talk. Changing my scenery wasn't something I was fond of, but I did it out of sheer desire to succeed. And I did.

Whether you get out of Colby now or later, you will. I know it, I can feel it in my bones. You're meant for more. You're meant for more than a crappy boyfriend that cheats on you; you're meant for more than standing in a sandbox working the family business; you're meant for more than some summer fling. I know because, you're like me. You work hard, you care too much, you're scared. I don't know if you end up with Theo, I don't know if you'll end up at EU or Columbia, I don't know what you decide; but I guess is what I'm saying is: don't give up. Keep going. If for any reason to prove your father wrong; to prove to him you're not failing, you're not going to be stuck just because he couldn't help you. Girls like you and me, we don't need anyone else. Thank you very much. We can do it just fine on our own.

So be scared, be afraid, be weary of change. Because it's that fear that could end up motivating you. It's that fear that can change your entire world, your outlook, your destiny. I was scared of the change, but I took it as it came; I, finally, decided for once in my structured, organized, thought-out life to just let the change happen, I was going to let the fear of change change me--to let it control what I do next instead of trying to control it myself. And I realized something incredibly important: if you just let go, if you just let go and let life control, well, life, amazing things can happen. And I think you'll learn that. I think, because you're like me, you'll decide to give in. You'll give in to the plan, and you'll throw caution to the wind, and you'll end up with the moon and more. You'll end up in New York with Theo, you end up somewhere with Benji, you'll go off with Morris. I don't know what you're going to do, but I do know that when you do--it's going to be amazing. For both of us.

Changingly Yours,


Friday, September 28, 2012

Dear Ender,

I'm not going to lie; I'm not sure how I feel about you yet. I have a feeling you're minipulitive, violent, and selfish. But for some reason I'm not totally turned off. Maybe it's because you're "the chosen one." But even so, should that behavior be rewarded? I don't think so.

I get the distinct feeling you're going to be praised for your violence. But not because it's violence, but because it's "smart witted." I'm sorry, I don't care how smart you are--violence is violence. And to encourage it at such a young age is terrible.

I can't help but think of all the kids that are bullied and hurt themselves--or worse--over violence in schools, and it makes me sick to think you're out there climbing the ranks due to it. And you feel no remorse. I think you might a little. Maybe deep down and you just haven't noticed it yet.

But that thought just doesn't leave my mind. I try to be open, and I am trying to let you finish my story before I completely dislike you, but I don't know if I'll be able to do it.

I don't know if in this world of violence, if I can condone such behavior from such a young boy. And I realize they say it's for the greater good of the world, but is it really? Can't there be an easier way than forcing these young girls and boys to leave their families and prepare for war.

I guess it's not the first time something like this has happened. And I realize it won't be the last. But there's got to be a better way. There's got to be a way in which we don't instill these values of violence and hatred in our children. Because lets face it, even if it's instilled in the best interest of humanity, it's still creating a vicious race of people. And it's spreading to those kids who are not even of the chosen class.

Look at Peter. Just look at him. I've never seen a larger cry for help in my life, yet he's just seen as a normal kid... Normal kids don't kill squirrels because they're bored. Normal kids don't make their siblings believe they're going to be killed. And why is he like this? Because of his hatred for you for accomplishing what he couldn't. Your going off to "save the world" in war is creating him to be a monster. So it's not just you. It's not just the kids your training with. It's spreading. Throughout the whole universe.

And I just wonder if you're where it started... But like I said, I'll try my best not to judge until I let you finish your story. I am trying. I just don't really have any tolerance for violence.

Non-judgingly Yours,