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Letters to My Daughter

By Lindy Chaffin Start

When writer’s block sets up camp in your soul and refuses to leave, it’s only natural a writer find another way. My other way comes in the form of Letters to My Daughter. Mind you, they are housed in a black leather-bound journal, but they begin with a date and “Dear Lovey”  and end “with love from Mom.” To me, that constitutes letters and it’s letters I’ve been writing to her since December 5, 2011, 372 days after her dad, my ex-husband announced he was leaving. It was at that point I decided that I had to get some things off my chest, exorcise a few demons.

I must admit, not every day has been filled with love. In the beginning I poured out my heart in the only way I knew how, talking about the pain, the games, and how the torture just kept going. The clocks kept ticking. The sound that made me insane when my daughter was first born – tick tock tick tock – reminding me how quickly she was growing became the sound that my heart synced up to in order to keep beating. And with every heart beat life moved on, slowly. Lovey grew upward, up to 44 inches in March, and my heart grew a little stronger. I’m still waiting for wings to sprout, but for now, at least it can beat on its own.

It kept time with the world yesterday and granted me joy in experiencing the little things and the ability to write about them. Things like:

The color Moroccan red, which now artfully adorns our kitchen and makes me smile each time I glance in that direction; cats purring and mewing around my ankles as they seek out a snack, and a little Buddy who refuses to leave my side; the smell of roses and gardenia growing together; any blue bird God ever created followed closely by red, then yellow; the romantic trill of a cowbird; a bullfrog croaking along with the sound the water makes as it pours over the rocks; the smell of rain as storm clouds begin to loom; the sight of brightly colored leaves and flowers spreading out across our vegetable garden knowing tasty, fresh vegetables aren’t far behind; learning Lovey had written her very first stories in school yesterday and her confidence as she proudly read them to me; the sound of her sobs as she begged, “Mommy, please, please let me sleep in your bed tonight because I miss you and…I’m crying” – sweet, funny girl; the sound of her softly snoring as she lay on the pillow next to mine; the breeze rustling the leaves outside my window and the tinkling sound of rain drops bouncing off the window; the sound of friends laughing, especially Mickey who has the heartiest laugh ever to leave a man’s chest; my mom and aunt as they feed off of one another’s hysterical laughter until they both begin to cry and the priceless looks of confusion on my father’s and uncle’s faces; the sound doves make as they launch into the sky; and the moment I once again experienced true joy.

Every day I write a letter to my little girl. Each day is different, yet each one offers the promise that life really is getting better. MAybe someday she’ll accept it as my gift of wit and wisdom about how purely crazy our lives were way back when. Maybe someday the pain, the games , and the torture will stop. Maybe someday my heart will sprout wings and lift my soul whistling as doves do when they fly away.

What little things have you experienced that have brought you joy?

Tami Brothers - May 7, 2012 - 7:57 am

Oh man, Lindy! My heart breaks as it reads the intense joy and pain in your words. I can’t imagine what you are going through, but you are showing a strength that tells us you will come out of this stronger and healthier than ever before. I am in awe that you keep moving along, sticking with your writing. I can hear you now saying you don’t have time to write. But this journal is deeper and more soul stirring than anything I could ever write. Sticking with the PF&HT group is another show of your resolve to write.

I just finished writing a note in my journal and I realized that I’m doing more fluff about the day to day goings on. I think I might need to apply myself a bit more.

You are inspiring! Stick with it girl. We have faith in you.

Hugs!

Tami :)

Pam Asberry - May 7, 2012 - 7:58 am

What a splendid idea, writing letters to your little girl! I wish I had done this for my boys. And you are absolutely correct; it’s the little things that bring us true joy. Thanks for getting my Monday off to such a great start!

Marilyn Baron - May 7, 2012 - 8:02 am

Lindy,

What a lovely post. I love that idea that you write to your daughter every day. I don’t do that. I mostly write about them in my blog posts. That’s my way of communicating.

Lately, the things I’ve enjoyed most are in my garden. I love it each year when the plants come back in a sequence as the season progresses. I love my Japanese maple trees, my hydrangeas, rhododendruns, my New Dawn roses and knockout roses. I just put in a wrought iron turquoise garden bench so I can enjoy my garden more. I love deer at my window and birds in my backyard. We just put up a bird feeder and I have a picture up now on facebook that shows a cardinal at the bird feeder. Now I want to put up a bird house. So I guess nature is something I appreciate and of course my husband, two daughters and my friends. I have a lot to be grateful for.

Lindi P - May 7, 2012 - 8:03 am

Very inspiring, Lindy! Like Tami said you are truly writing. Your soul will burst forth with that novel when it’s time.
Thanks for inspiring me today.

Lindy - May 7, 2012 - 9:58 am

Tami – Thank you for your kindness and support. I have a feeling your journal is deeper than you think. Isn’t that what all us writer’s do, after all, diminish our work. :-) I laugh at mine calling it a “poopy” first draft as Anne Lamott might, but in the end, it’s my heart I want my little girl to know, not perfection.

Pam – It’s never too late to start writing those letters and knowing your boys, they will apprecaite them. I’m glad I could help you start your Monday off with little joys.

Marilyn – Anytime you can truly communicate with your family is a good time – blog posts or otherwise. I applaud you for embracing technology. I saw the pic on Facebook and that Cardinal is gorgeous. I know the feeder will bring you much joy.

Lindi – I’m glad I could inspire you today. I appreciate your comments and am grateful you stopped by. See you soon!

Lindy

Sia Huff - May 7, 2012 - 10:25 am

Lindy,
What a precious gift you’re creating for your Lovey. Your words are beautiful and so is your heart. Keep committing them to paper.
There is no doubt that there is pain in life. Doubly so when someone try to cause harm. But your heart and soul will fly with joy and the poison he spews won’t be able to reach you.
Hugs.

Lindy - May 7, 2012 - 10:39 am

THanks so much, Sia. I’m holding onto the hope that moment is coming soon. Funny how my days contrasts my post. Ah, the day will come my friend, the day will come. Hope you have a fabulous day!

Sandy Elzie - May 7, 2012 - 11:20 am

Good morning Lindy,
My heart aches for you, but I’m so proud of how you’re growing and getting stronger. You’ll be a great role-model for your daughter.

Several years ago I bought a book…similar to a scrap book, but it was filled with questions that I was to answer. Example: When I started high school, the first day was the best/worst because… and things about television shows I watched as a child and then a teen…..and then about the day she was born…what the weather was like, what the headlines were in the newspaper, how much gas cost per gallon, etc.

I’ve just about finished it, and will be giving it to her soon.

Maxine - May 7, 2012 - 11:25 am

Lindy,
I know your daughter will love the journal of letters and they will help her through life. My mom didn’t write much, but I have a couple of the notes she sent and I just love rereading them.
You are right. It’s the “little things” that probably are not so little that I enjoy every day. Marilyn, I, too, love sitting and watching things in my yard-and the blue birds flying in and out of the box.

Darcy - May 7, 2012 - 1:25 pm

Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful, Lindy. What a very special gift to give your daughter. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you to carry on, yet you have each other, and it sounds like you’re doing a spectactular job! I wish you both the best. I love your comment, “it’s my heart I want my little girl to know, not perfection”….that’s what it’s all about.

Carol Burnside - May 7, 2012 - 7:14 pm

Beautiful, Lindy! Your daughter will know you as a person, rather than just the mother persona. That is invaluable and will bond the two of you closer still.

Living in the country, I enjoy the sound of the wind rustling through the trees, the song and fussing of birds, the soft whuff of a horse, an answering neigh. Little to no traffic and the sight of stars in the night sky add to the enjoyment.

Lindy - May 8, 2012 - 6:47 am

Sandy, that sounds like a really special project, one I know she will treasure forever. I’ve always tried to get my parents to write bits and pieces about their lives for us. Like Maxine’s mom, I guess it’s not always that simple. I want to hear about her reaction to your gift. Keep me posted.

Thanks Maxine. I hope your day is filled with lots of little amazing things.

Darcy, there are moments when you question your sanity, your motives, your ability to think, grow, and be an adult. As I wrote this morning I talked about Red’s dad and how much the choices he’s made have effected me and how when I spilled my guts to him on the phone last night (big mistake) that it was the most comfortable I’ve felt in months. At least Red will know I’m human. Thanks.

Carol, I’m a little jealous. I love Decatur but miss the country. Listening to water crash over the shoals on the Ocmulgee, millions of stars in the night sky, and the sound of crickets instead of ambulances and roaring engines.

Thanks to all of you for coming out to visit yesterday. I hope you have a wonderful week.

Lindy

Susan - May 9, 2012 - 12:02 am

Visiting a friend I’ve not seen in month bring me joy. Tis so sweet!

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