Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dear Daughter

Dear Daughter,

It's 2016 as I write this. The morning, in a word, sucked. I'm sure you don't remember it now, all these years later, but today it's heavy on my heart. No sleep, early mornings, busy schedule, sick dog, raised voices—this was our morning. And then there was a text from you, as you rode the bus to 7th grade:  

I'm sorry for being a butthead. :(

I'm sorry too, but I'm also thankful because these words are mature and it's showing me how much you were growing up. This is a double edged sword for me, baby girl, but it's what has to happen now, and I accept that. And I'm sure some days you're going to feel like I feel now, like parenting is just too hard and you can never do anything right. About how you always seem to piss off your kids and never get it all done much less make any time for yourself.

I can't change that for you, but I can tell you that I know what this feels like. You can call me, you can rage or cry or just breathe and I'll know. I'm here. I've been through this and we'll get through it.

After you left for school, I needed something soothing—we all do. This is going to be a heck of a day for us all, and I know it's going to be tough for you based on how much effort it took to pry you out of bed. You know, I admire you for your strength. Or at least I will by the time you read this. Right now it's a bit of a challenge.

But here's some inside mom info for you: little things make a big difference. Little things are where the love is. Little things are what we argue most about, but little things can sometimes make it feel better. Some of my best memories of growing up were sitting in the kitchen doing homework while Mom made dinner. The smell of carrots and onions and celery cooking up in butter and garlic are so soothing, it's magic. There's a reason they call it the trinity.

So I'm doing something little for us all and making a crock pot full of chicken soup. I mean, there's a reason those books are called Chicken Soup for the Soul, right? I learned to master soup after becoming a Mom, and I love it because it's so high-reward. The payback of spending a few minutes prepping ingredients goes beyond dinner. And this soup I made today was even easier.

@marifarthing chicken soup
And now we wait
Two cartons of stock, a package of frozen, shredded chicken (pressure-cooked a few weeks back), and that's the base. Then start dumping: carrots, onions, celery, garlic, herbs and spices. A can of drained green beans if you're so inclined. A can of petite diced tomatoes to make it a bit more robust—I omitted this because I know you don't like cooked tomatoes. That leftover rice in the fridge will be added at the end.

And that's it. All day, my ragged heart will be soothed by the smells coming from the crock pot. When you and your brother and dad come home after school or work, you'll be welcomed into that warm-smelling embrace. We'll hug. We'll have a conversation about making sure we don't have as many mornings like this (But we'll have more. So many more. Because that's how life works).

I'll try to explain to you through talking about soup how you might think it's harder than it is and you might think you're just screwing it all up but it turns out okay at the end. And we'll sit down to dinner and be thankful.

Sometimes the answers are more complicated, but it's always good to start with the easiest solution to any problem. I encourage you to use this when you're sad, when you need a hug, when you want to warm your family and make them feel loved, or when you want to say you're sorry.

Love, Mom


  1. I love this. I hope your dinner tastes good, and feels even better.

  2. I loved this line: "But we'll have more. So many more. Because that's how life works." But, always, there is soup. And mother's love. Your kids are blessed, Mari.

  3. What a great mom you are! I already imagine mornings like this in my future even though my oldest is only 2. How will I handle it? What will I say or do? What kind of parent will I be as she and her unborn sister grow up? But as you have put it here. We do what we can on that day. And today I think you have done good. I hope things have settled down since writing this!