I think about you 1,000 times a day or more. I think about your lovely faces, how you sound when you laugh, the smell of you when you were babies. I miss that smell.
Why do I make you swim? Because you are good at it. Because it is good for you. Because when I watch you, I marvel at your grace and speed, gliding through the water. It looks effortless and I know it's not. To me, it is utter beauty. Maybe it's selfish. I believe in my heart that parents sometimes have to make choices for their children. So I have made this choice for you. And when I see how much fun you are having, how you push yourselves to do better, the look of pride in your eyes when you've won an event, I know I've made the right choice.
It is hard to grasp this concept, but someday, you will be grownups with families of your own. With careers and jobs and hopes and dreams. Someday, your dad and I won't be here anymore. But you will still have each other. So shut up and stop fighting all the time. You are so much stronger together than apart. Team up against us! Form a secret alliance! But whatever you do, stick together. You have no idea how lucky you are to have each other, to be sisters. I'd give anything for a sister.
Z...when you told me last year that you didn't believe in God, I felt a little sad. I told you that I respected your beliefs and when you asked me not to tell dad, I told you I'd let you tell him when you were ready, which you did. You have continued to go to church and be active there, babysitting in the nursery on Sunday mornings, being a counselor for Vacation Bible School, participating in community service with Youth Group. I asked you once why, if you didn't believe in God, did you continue to go to church. Your response: "I like to help". A couple of weeks ago, the subject came up again and you did your usual eye roll in my direction when I asked you what made you decide you didn't believe in God. You told me that it just doesn't make any sense to you. I've been thinking about that a lot, because, truth be told, sometimes it doesn't make any sense to me either. Sometimes, I don't know what to believe, but I do believe this: there was once a man named Jesus and, divine or not, he lived his life with love and compassion and kindness. He liked to help people. So even if you don't believe in God, you are following the teachings of Jesus. I think that's really cool.
There will come a day, sooner than I'd like, when you start to date boys. Boys are kind of weird. They don't generally know how to express themselves, they get tongue tied, they are afraid of their feelings. I am generalizing because not all boys are this way, but I'd say a good portion are. These boys grow into men, who sometimes don't know how to express themselves, get tongue tied and are afraid of their feelings. Sometimes, it is hard to know the truly good from the truly bad. I think these are a couple of pointers that might help you in choosing a truly good boyfriend/husband:
1. If he isn't nice to his mother, he probably won't be nice to you.
2. If he doesn't have patience for children or the elderly, and he doesn't like animals, he probably isn't a very kind person.
3. If he thinks what you do....anything and everything....is cool and interesting and he will sit and have conversations with you about it, then he is a definite keeper.
4. If he makes you laugh, makes your heart race, makes you feel loved and whole and his little quirks are charming to you, if you can look across a crowded room and find his eyes and they are looking back at you with adoration (and you will know that look when you see it), if he is passionate about his work and equally passionate about yard work, cooking dinner together and loves you at a size 6 or a size 16, then you should never let him go.
You are adolescents now and I know that it is a natural part of growing up to try to disengage from your parents. Just know that I am always here, for whatever you need, whatever you want to talk about. And if you don't want to talk, I'm still here.