As a writer who focuses a lot of her energy and work on parenting, I often get asked for advice. I find this equal parts hilarious and touching, as I most often feel that, when it comes to parenting, I am most definitely “winging it”.
Yes, I have opinions and perspectives that I’ve gained as a mother but, I am not entirely sure if I’m the best person to ask about disciplining your child, or which type of nappy really does keep baby bums dry at night. But, there is one piece of advice I always want to tell people who ask.
My mom and dad loved us, their kids. I know this and knew this even on the days when we would fight for hours (I was, remember, a horrible teen). I knew their love for us on the days that were great and I knew their love when I would yell at them in the middle of a tantrum. Even now that they are gone, I know their love still.
I can touch their love, still, because I can read it. I can, because they wrote to us. Whether it was a little note stuck in a lunchbox, long and late night emails sent to me at 2am or a little scribble stuck under my bedroom door. I have kept every single one of them (thank you, teenage hoarder tendencies … )
Those notes, emails and letters contain a variety of wise thoughts. Some of them are so very “newsy” or time-relevant, like the time my mom devoted two pages to telling me about she’s planning a compost heap and vegetable patch. Some of them were witty little ditties my dad would pen when he was annoyed with something. Some of them were deep musings on life. Some of those little scribbles have made me strong when I have felt adrift in the world. Some of those little notes have injected a sparkle into a dull day.
They were not created with the intent to be a legacy for me. They were written as everyday communication, and sometimes they had a specific purpose. Their ultimate use, though, would not have been apparent to either me or my parents then.
It is only now, in the years beyond their lives, that those little pieces of their words are a touchstone for me. They are a vital and important part of my life now. I need them now, more than I did then, no matter the circumstances under which those words were imparted.
My point? It doesn’t matter if you think you “can’t write”. You don’t need to be eloquent or wise. You don’t even need to have anything particularly significant to say. Just write.
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