My mom dropped off all kinds of "treasures" for me yesterday. High school yearbooks, old art projects, and lots of memorabilia. With the exception of a gold chain with a 'k' charm, I probably won't keep much. My mom kept all of her pre-natal appointment cards, their confirmation for childbirth classes, and wrote in a calendar describing every day of my first year. I have all of my report cards (which the kids want to look through), the program for my one and only gymnastics recital, and a dollar for getting published in the Junior Dispatch. My high school yearbooks contains all sorts of inane messages from classmates.
My childhood was easy. I had great parents, a good education, and supportive extended family. We took vacations, enjoyed the privilege of having just about everything we wanted, and generally lived a charmed life.
The moment that hit me like a ton of bricks is when I found this letter from my cousin.
In it, she describes her life (since we'd not seen in each other in a while). Her mom wasn't talking to her (her new stepdad prevented it). Her dad lived at the beach, and her stepmom stayed out until 5:00am every morning (with other men). She was struggling in school, and her only 'family' was a boyfriend named Brandon.
What's really sobering is that I don't even remember this letter. Did I respond? In the midst of my charmed life, I probably didn't even know how to respond to something so heartbreaking. After reading that this morning, my thoughts directly turn to my children. I am so, so grateful for their 'charmed' childhood. I am thankful to God for protecting me from others' bad decisions, but regretful that she was not.
I am praying for her today, because I've recently learned she is in an abusive marriage. Her son, who is the same age as our precious son, bore the brunt of his stepfather's rage just last week. I will keep praying, because that's all I can do.
I don't know why life is so hard, but I do know I will fight to continue a protected life for my children.