The willow thrives near the river, in graceful freedom.
You are my willow, born in a wintery world, like a little immediate sun. The snow bit outside, remember, but you never felt it.
I still find it hard not to stare at you. You made it. You made it here to us like the miracle of a fire in the snow.
We tiptoed so you could rest. We asked what you needed.
Here you are, in the war of being a teen, battling in an obscene world of many wars.
How cruel and shallow most everything seems, with anxiousness and depression and a million images of a million desperate faces in a virtual petri dish, starving to be near and validated, given everything and starving for anything of substance. Nothing seems real and sending you to live in the landscape of so much unrest seems unfair.
I listen to you, in your steady philosophy, and I trust you. I see you noticing the sky, I see you noticing the hurting ones around you. And I see how strong you’ve had to be.
Remember how you hid when the guns fired? You called your sisters who were nearby. You held your tears until you were home. Twice you have been in the setting of random shootings. Remember how you stood tall when they were so cruel in the hallways and in the fields at school? You came home and found your center, and we waited for you, each had spent time in prayer wanting to rescue you and knowing we couldn’t.
How can we save the world, willow? Remember what we said that early morning in the car on the roundabout?
Love, which is one of the most difficult vocab words to define in your teens.
Don’t confuse love with flattery. Love is something shared that grows over time. It shouldn’t be a ticket for the gift of your nearness. You could be near to anyone you choose to be. That’s the easy part. Someone who loves you will not ask anything from you that would possibly hurt you.
Create a list of questions for an interview and begin with things like: how do you treat people who are less fortunate?
Never lose your confidence because of what someone wanted from you, or let your beauty, though I don’t worry about this with you, be the only focus of worth. You’ll be isolated because of other’s insecurities. But you will never be alone.
Don’t be fooled with flattery. Smile for the compliments, but don’t wait for them, never fish for them as proof of your beauty or worth.
The only constant that’s as beautiful as you are to me is the gold of sunrise on the grainy field while we drive and sing.
Know the value of joy in the sun spreading her arms around morning like a mother, the green and gold sun colors of a freeze while there’s hope stirring of Christmas. Know that if ever you feel alone, you are not alone. You don’t have to be.
How can we save the world, willow?