Letter to My Younger Self or The Wisdom of Fairy Tales
"Fairy tales were not my escape from reality as a child; rather, they were my reality - for mine was a world in which good and evil were not abstract concepts, and like fairy-tale heroines, no magic would save me unless I had the wit and heart and courage to use it widely." -Terri Windling, Surviving Childhood The Armless Maiden 1995
Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Wizard of Oz, and Through The Looking Glass are all the fairy tales you love so much. During your life Jamey, these magical tales will offer you wisdom beyond your imagination.
You know, that thing you are doing right now, you will always do. I still do it today! You will always imagine what your life will be like. You will always set goals for yourself. You will always see ways to achieve those goals. You will always move forward in life, this is true, but I write this letter to you today to let you know that our journey will not be an easy one.
Motherhood, one of our first goals! Remember you said we wanted three boys and a baby girl? I will tell you now, that's exactly what we are given! How about that! Three boys and a baby girl! They are beautiful children and all are born healthy! Four children is quite a a lot and with them comes lots of work! I chuckle now as I think of you and how we never liked the domestic stuff. Grandma spoiled us because she never made us do much of the housework. I know what you are thinking right now! "Much? Heck I don't do any of the housework! She does it all and wants it that way!" You are right but Grandma doesn't live at our house now, four children do and with those four children comes lots of housework. When you are feeling overwhelmed by the piles of laundry, the stacked dirty dishes and all the beds that must be made, I ask you to remember Snow White and her take on the mundane work that is at hand...
Just whistle while you work
And cheerfully together we can
Tidy up the place.
So hum a merry tune.
It won't take long when there's a song to
Help you set the pace.
And as you sweep the room
Imagine that the broom
Is someone that you love
And soon you'll find you're dancing to the tune.
When hearts are high the time will fly
So whistle while you work!
Just whistle while you work!
Put on that grin and start right in
To whistle loud and long
Just hum a merry tune.
Just do your best and take a rest
And sing yourself a song.
When there's too much to do
Don't let it bother you, forget your troubles,
Try to be just like a cheerful chick-a-dee
And whistle while you work!
Come on get smart, tune up and start
To whistle while you work!
You see, Snow White knew how to keep a cheerful attitude while doing the daily task of keeping up with those seven dwarfs! Snow White will serve you well during those days of thinking "is this ever going to end?"
Enjoy your days as a young mother with lots of things to do because I can tell you that a storm is blowing your way. In fact, my dear young Jamey, you will face two big storms as a mother. Storms that will shake you to your very core. With each storm comes a feeling of hopelessness and great sadness. The days will be dark. You will think and believe that these are impossible days to endure. In the middle of all your pain and hopelessness try to remember Alice and her conversation with the queen in her adventure Through the Looking Glass....
"There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Alice learned to believe in the impossible and so must you. Even when the impossible doesn't happen you will see the impossible did happen. I know this all sounds like a riddle but it's all I am allowed to say to you for now. While in the midst of each storm, believe Jamey, just believe. Believe in yourself and in others! You will make it through both of these storms and you will see that you and your family are loved by your community and an entire nation! You will see miracles in each storm. You will see you and our children have each been chosen to accomplish many things not only in the medical world but in humanity itself. Once the storms have passed you will realize that you have been used by the Divine and you will have seen the Divine used others as well.
We do survive those storms but we do not come away unscathed. We will bear the scars of our struggles for many years to come. Those scars will take us to a place we have never known. This darkness follows us for many years. We try to escape its grip but we can't. We enter the world of addiction in our quest to escape our pain. It's a world full of loneliness, degradation and more pain. Once again we feel helpless. We have lost our way. We look for help everywhere, on every corner but to no avail. Just when you think all is lost, the story of Peter Pan resurfaces...
"All this has happened before, and it will all happen again. But this time it happened in London. It happened on a quiet street in Bloomsbury. That corner house over there is the home of the Darling family. And Peter Pan chose this particular house because there were people here who believed in him..."
Well we don't quite make it to Bloomsbury, London but we do leave our hometown. You begin to realize that home is not where we belong. Your hometown is full of ghost from our past that haunt us daily. You want to be able to escape the faces of those we have hurt there. On a daily basis you encounter those people, places and things were so painful to us. There will seem to be no other solution but to bid our hometown farewell. And that is exactly what you will do Jamey. You will pack up your personal belongings, as few as they are, and you will leave the place that has loved you in the past. Your journey will take you to a place where there are people there who believe in you. These people will share your struggles. Oh their stories will be different yes, but their pain will be the same. They will teach you a new way to live. They will give you a message full of hope. It is in this new place that our old dreams will awaken and old possibilities will arise. You finally learn how to deal with our pain and the addiction's grip will finally began to loosen.
You will make lots of new friends and find you have made some new enemies as well. These days will take you to Snow White once again but this time you will need to focus on those seven dwarfs.
Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey,
Doc, Happy, Bashful, Grumpy.
It's not the names that are important to you now. It's the different personalities. The Seven Dwarfs bring with them a lesson of tolerance. Many different personalities will begin to enter your life. Each one unique in their own way. Tolerance will allow you to enjoy and learn from each individual no matter whether you like them or not. This is a valuable lesson because it brings validation into the lives of others. No one is without value and once we learn this, our lives become enriched by the experience, strength and hope that others have to offer.
This brings us to the present time in our journey Jamey. All of the wisdom we have experienced so far has been invaluable to us but there are two more fairy tales to explore. These two will prove to be the reason for all the others. They represent the healing we have found along the way. The first comes from Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz...
"There's no place like home! There's no place like home! There's no place like home!"
You see, the one place I thought we didn't belong is exactly where our journey as brought us today. We have come full circle! We go home. And just as Dorothy was excited to tell Auntie Em and Uncle Henry all about her adventures, you too will be eager to tell everyone where you have been and what you have learned. You begin to realize you need home as much as home needs you.
Our journey is far from over Jamey! This next wisdom is the one that has brought us safe thus far and it will be the one that will sustain us no matter where our journey will take us next. It comes from Sleeping Beauty....it is not a quote but a scene. The kiss of true love. Our prince, the Prince of Peace, has kissed us and peace has come upon us. Love has begun to invade our human condition. His kiss has awakens us to new dreams and new possibilities have begun to arise....
Where will we go from here? I do not know but I know we go with peace, love, joy and hope. We are going to be okay now Jamey! The storms of life will come rolling in again because that is the nature of life itself. We have survived many storms and we will survive those yet to come. We have learned that we do not know how strong we are until we are called to be strong! We have learned to feel whatever pain we must endure and we will learn from the pain. We have been scarred by our struggles and we have been transformed by hope! We like who we have become....
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