Dear Jalayla Bee and Lola Bee,
It’s been a while since I’ve written here in this space. With the exception of posting articles I’ve written elsewhere I’ve struggled to sit here and write. I’ve had days where I’ve wanted to abandon blogging and writing in general and then I’ve had days where I’ve wanted to blog without abandon.
When I started this blog I had big plans. Your daddy and I were going to write together. We were going to share our journey. But the reality is your daddy doesn’t love writing the way I do. He was willing to try for me but it didn’t feel right for him. It didn’t feel natural. Eventually I realized that it just wasn’t that serious. Your father has and continues to make many sacrifices all in the name of love — as part of his efforts to make me happy and show his support for my vision and my dreams. But this didn’t need to be one of his sacrifices.
Later I started another blog. I was going to start all over. I was going to write about you two — and sisterly things. And then I realized it was just too much. I wasn’t ready to let go of this space and knew that I wasn’t going to be able to thrust my all into it to make the other space what I wanted it to be.
Occasionally I think about what you two will think when you come to this space one day. Will you wonder what your mom’s deal was? Why she couldn’t figure it out? Why she went from posting recipes to hats to attempting to start series to feature the words of other writers – words that tugged on my heartstrings? To tinkering with the idea of letting it all go.
When it has come to this – this blog and writing in general — I’ve put so much pressure on myself. I haven’t the slightest idea why other than I’m trying to be something other than who I am or what comes natural to me.
I read blogs filled with beautiful stories, photographs and moments. And I think, wow, what a gift they are giving to their children. I read stories of inspiration and encouragement, and think wow not only are they giving their children a gift but they are giving a gift to the rest of the world.
And I think I wanted that for this space. I wanted our lives beautifully curated. I wanted to leave you with something beyond a million photographs uploaded onto the hard drive.
I wanted you to be proud of your mama. I wanted you to know what I was thinking, feeling and doing while you were growing up. I wanted you to know that what your daddy and I have on its own is so beautiful and precious and sacred to me — made even better thanks to you.
And then somehow my love for writing became an avenue for me to be able to be at home for a while and as a result I had the best summer of my existence. But when writing became my career I felt even more pressure. There were traffic goals and social media and me — a small fish in a big pond.
I’ve taken classes, attended conferences and read post after post looking for something. I’ve attempted to make comebacks to my own blog and then I let it fall to the wayside focusing on paying gigs because they were what allowed me to be home. And I fell out of love with writing. My passion for it faded.
For a lot of people having a blog is work. They dedicate time to posting regularly to curating content and sharing their content. Some of them create beautiful recipes and DIYs and showcase their fashion or fabulous finds. Yet as much as I enjoy reading that stuff blogging about it isn’t for me. It doesn’t come natural and while I am all for pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone for your mom this isn’t it.
I just want to write. I don’t want to be worried about social media followings and how to market myself so that people keep coming back. I don’t want to worry about whether or not someone will care about my story and deem it as important. I don’t want to worry about being accepted by Internet’s in crowd or wrack my brain trying to figure out why someone unsubscribed to my blog or stopped following me on Instagram. Did I offend them? Is it because my photos aren’t pinnable and my “content” irregular?
Somewhere in all of this I’ve lost my way and I’ve sort of lost touch with who I was. And because I couldn’t make this space what I thought it should look like I’ve often stayed away and went silent. The fact that I don’t post regularly, have thousands of social media followers and subscribers are no reflection of the kind of wife and mother that I am. Nor does it make what I have to say any less important. It doesn’t have to matter to the masses. It just needs to matter to me. And hopefully one day it will matter to you two.
You may one day read this blog and think, wow mom sure was indecisive or she sure changed her mind a lot. And I hope that you realize that it’s ok. I’m 30 now. And I’ve gone through a few seasons in my life. There have been seasons where I’ve felt on cloud nine. I’ve felt like I’ve had my stuff together. There have been seasons when I’ve just been trying to stay afloat and make it to the next season hoping it brings with it some relief. Seasons where I feel like I’ve been trying to be what I thought I should be rather than who I want to be. There have been seasons when I’ve been so driven and determined. And seasons when I’ve just wanted to sit and rest because I was tired of trudging…
And right now at this moment all I want to do is be the best mom and wife I can be. All I want is to live the kind of life that gives glory to God. I want to live simply so that I am able to fix my eyes and heart on the things that are most important. I want to serve and I want to fall back in love with writing.
I want you to know that it’s ok to have moments when you have no clue what you’re doing. And it’s ok to let go or fall out of love with of a dream. It’s also ok to fall back in love with it.
Instead of looking ahead I’ve been looking around. I’ve been looking at what other people are doing, how their careers are taking off, and how brave and talented they are. And as I rejoice for them there have been days when I’ve silently mourned. Because I think I’m not where I should be. I’m not living up to my potential and I’m not sure this is even what I want to be doing anymore.
So for today on this day here I am. Me and all my jumbled thoughts. And a desire to let go of the unimportant stuff. To let go of thoughts on what should be or could be and focus on what is. To give myself permission to step back if I need to. To let go and to hold on.
I’ll be back from time to time to write letters and to share some of my work too and for now that’s it. That’s me staying true to who I am today. That’s me apologizing for the fact that you may have to go through hundreds of computer files or scroll through Instagram to revisit your childhood because I didn’t get around to blogging in. But I promise I was there. Living alongside you.
My hope for you is that you aren’t afraid to be who you are. And that you don’t feel less than because your life doesn’t look a certain way or that your passions aren’t what you think they should be — or marketable. Each of us have different gifts and it’s important to remember that our gifts are intended to bring glory to Him not ourselves.
This is the part where I tell you that I love you like crazy. I love you for the people you are now at this moment. Jalayla I love your sensitive spirit. I love that you feel with our whole heart. I love that you make huge messes all in the name of play and that you insist on having the last word. I love that some days you declare that you never want to wear dresses again and that you wore Converse with your dress to church yesterday. I love that you always want to be the one to wake your baby sister up and that you give us both hugs first thing in the morning. And Lola I love that you aren’t afraid to speak up. That you love fiercely and hard. I love your silly nature and am happy to see that like your big sister you have developed quite a love for books. I love that you say “mommy mommy mommy” over and over and that your teachers are always telling me how loving you are. “She gives the best hugs,” they say.
I thank you two for showing me the parts of me that I want to work on. I often think about what I am teaching you, what I am modeling for you — and I hope that I can provide you with lessons that are meaningful. Lessons that arm you with enough to prompt you to think and reflect.
And I hope that you know that no matter what you decide to be when you grow up or what goal you decide you want to work toward I will be here for you. Cheering for you, praying for you and loving you. Even if you change your mind again and again.
You don’t have to have it all figured out. Please remind each other of that in those times that you forget.
Just rest in the comfort that comes with knowing that God does.
Love forever and Always,