Years ago when I first started teaching, one of my 8th-grade students lost her mom to cancer. She was hurt and bewildered, partly because her parents didn't really prepare her for what was coming. Her mother, a devoted Christian, believed with all of her heart that God was going to heal her. So why discuss the prospect of death at all?
My heart broke for the entire family. The mother left so many things unsaid. The daughter felt angry and hurt that she didn't get a chance to ask her mother all those things a teenage girl doesn't know about life.
When my own daughter was born, I determined that I'd tell her what I wanted her to know before time ran out. Oh, I know that it's morbid and no mother really wants to think about not being there to watch their children grow up. But it happens. Every single day. And no, I am not suffering from any terminal illness (I say this for my mother's sake, who reads my blog).
But if something WERE to happen to me, I want the Princess to have the words of wisdom I long to share with her as she grows up, the lessons I have learned. Most of it she won't understand right now. After all, she's only 7. But she won't always be. She'll need my guidance and love even if I'm no longer there.
So I wrote down what I wanted her to know and created a hardbound photo book with all of my advice through Shutterfly. I divided the book into categories - About You, About Us, About God, About Marriage, etc. Here's a sample:
"About Us. We are not perfect, so don't expect us to be. We have made and will make mistakes in parenting you. But never forget that there are no two people on this earth who love you as much as we do. We have more of ourselves invested in you than anyone else. You might think we're being too strict or don't want you to fun, but we've been around longer and we know things you don't. We want to protect you from things you don't understand are harmful. So please know, that no matter what, your well-being is our concern. We want only the best for you. We love you so much!"
And another one:
"About Life. Honey, I'll just tell you straight up - life isn't fair. People will disappoint you. Plans will not always work out. Loved ones will die. Hardships and trials will come. Face these difficulties with grace and dignity. Lean on the Lord. Don't give bitterness a place in your heart. Your happiness does not rest on your circumstances. You can choose to have joy in spite of the difficulties you encounter. Give yourself an opportunity to grieve the losses but remember that life goes on. It might not seem like it at the time, but put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Quitting is not an option. Ask yourself at the end of the day, 'What have I done today to make Jesus proud?' Strive to be a good, kind friend. When you fail, pick yourself up and try again. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You are not in this alone. You have God's reservoir of grace to draw from, and you can always lean on us for love and support. Ultimately, how your life turns out is up to you. Choose to do right and you choose blessings. Choose to go your own way and you choose unhappiness. Your potential is unlimited. Put it to good use."
This last page says, "Every day I thank God for the privilege of being your Mom."
I'm currently working on a similar book for Mr. Lego. I've been waiting until Shutterfly had a sale on photo books and free shipping. Here's the deal for that. I have to finish by April 29 to get the special price and shipping.
What about you? Have you ever done something like this for children? A scrapbook maybe? Would you ever consider doing it?