Today's guest is Lorissa from Brunk & Brunk. I met her through Emily of A Denver Home Companion, and as a fellow twin mama we hit it off! Check out her blog for more about her life with twins daughters and baby Avi.
Dear Charlotte & Bellina,
Right now you are two years old. Each day is much like the last, full of playing and singing and laughing and crying and messes. We just moved into our new house on Magnolia street where Daddy and I are making a home for you. A place for your bed and your toys and a yard with green grass. But mostly, a place for us to be a family. A place where you can belong. Right now, you belong with me and Daddy and your sister and your little brother. And we belong with you. We belong to each other. Just the way you are, you are a perfect fit in this family. You make this family great! It is my hope that this belonging will carry you and hold you always, especially as you grow and make your own way in the world. Looking for belonging will be often confusing and sometimes disappointing, but it can also be fun!
When I was in the second grade, the letters on the chalkboard started looking blurry. I told my Mom (Grammy) about my trouble. A few days later she took me to Crumm and Todd Optometry, the only eye doctor in town, and I was diagnosed with near sightedness. At seven years old, I was getting glasses.
Grammy picked a cute pair with two little red strawberries on each ear piece. Granted, they were enormous, and really quite ugly; but I will have to forgive her for that.
I was the only one in my class to wear glasses and remember feeling self-conscious. When my teacher, Mrs. Adrian, had everyone make pretend glasses out of tin foil, I felt so important…like I belonged. Not because the other kids were wearing foil on their faces, but because they went out of their way to notice me and think about what I might be feeling, and to do something about it.
I wore glasses until my junior year of high school. Seven years of glasses. When finally after endless begging, Grammy agreed to buy me contact lenses: I. WAS. PUMPED!
I will never forget people's reactions. One of my friends said, "Lorissa Bellina has eyes!" as if I didn't even have them before. No eyes! Everyone said "you look really great" or "wow, you're just really beautiful". It was a lot of attention. I was soaring. My heart still soars a little just remembering everyone's approval. It felt so good to be seen.
With my confidence boosted, I ran for student government and was elected class secretary, which was considered "popular". I spent more time with friends and joined activities with people at school. I started going to school dances and I even went on a few dates with boys.
When Josh Barnaby, a boy in my class, asked me on a date, I said yes. Ironically, Josh had been my big crush in 7th grade. My BFF Rachel Larson had asked his guy friend (on my behalf) if we could "go together" and he had said “yes”, but then “no” with the reason being that he was “moving to Idaho at the end of the school year”. My BFF Rachel and I candidly called him "mister potato head" from that point on. We were always figuring out important codes for talking about boys. You know, so no one overheard us and uncovered our deepest secrets. That would have been mortifying. But talking about Mister Potato Head out loud was totally acceptable. ANYWAY,
Josh and I went mini-golfing at All Star Sports Arena. He wore cowboy boots and played country music radio while we drove together in his Ford pick up truck. We goofed around and laughed hysterically during the putt-putt game. Some might say we acted like 7th graders. On the way home, he made a pit stop at his parent’s house so we could get a fudge-sickle out of the garage deep freezer. I think I even met his Dad. I was still eating the fudge-sickle when we drove up in front of my house. I thanked him and jumped out of the truck before he could kiss me. I guess I didn't like him enough to kiss him. I avoided his calls after that. I just didn’t know what to say. Perhaps there is a difference between being noticed and being known. I was eager to be noticed by him, but not really ready to be known. Connecting can be so confusing sometimes.
I remember being noticed by another boy from my Spanish class, Scott Freidlake. He showed up at my front door out of the blue holding a giant four foot tall stuffed penguin. See, our Spanish teacher, Senora Salmeron encouraged us to practice speaking Spanish during class. Naturally, I talked as much as possible and the entire class often got to hear about my (quite serious) penguin collection. I really loved saying penguin in Spanish..."Penguino". Scott never asked me on an actual date, but I had that giant penguin for a very long time. Maybe sometimes being noticed is enough, too.
All this attention made me wish I had gotten contacts WAY sooner. High school is already a tough place to belong, but so much harder when people think you don’t have any EYES. The confidence boosted my personality in other ways too. I was more creative, kind, happy and laid back. I was able to be myself. The magical thing about being myself was that I actually felt connected to people, not just noticed by them. Being myself was a lot of fun.
For example, one day in Choir, while waiting for the teacher to arrive, I convinced the entire class to pretend they were chewing gum. So when Mr. McCormick started the class and went through his usual order of business, finally announcing “please spit out your gum”, which usually resulted in one persongetting up, the entire class stood up, making a lengthy (and laughing) line all the way to the trash can. It was funny. We did lots of silly stuff like that and I can’t wait to tell you more about it someday.
Until then, I am doing my best to notice you, to know you, to connect with you and to belong with you. When I see you being yourself, I see that everything is as it should be. And I love you.
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