Dear Sweet Ella,

I see you. I know that you have an older brother who can be demanding. I know you have a little sister who can be mean to you. I know you are trying to just be easy and not make more work for me. I know you see my stress and try to be easy. I know how it feels to be like you. I was just like you. I know that you take on other people’s stress. You are a sweetheart who cares about the people around you.

Today I asked you to stay home from school. You seemed so stressed out and I just wanted you to take a rest day. You told me you couldn’t stay home because you had two tests. You are in fourth grade. The stress that I see you take on from school concerns me.

I get so stressed and overwhelmed myself that I forget to look at you and what you are dealing with. I apologize for every time I do that. I apologize for every time I get stressed out and yell. I try so hard every day to stay calm. I will keep trying.

Tonight, your sister wanted to go to Panera to dinner with us. Max and daddy were at soccer and she wanted a girl’s date. I give you such a hard time for never wanting to leave the house. Between school, theater, school rehearsals, girl scouts and Hebrew school, I know you don’t get enough time to just decompress at home. I’m sorry I gave you a hard time. I’m tired too. I understand. I know you just wanted to stay home and relax tonight. Sometimes it is about Ella and it is not about Lillie. Lillie is so loud and demanding that she tends to yell for what she wants. Tonight I heard you. Lillie didn’t get her way. Lillie doesn’t always get her way.

So here I sit thinking about you. I think about you rushing to theater after school. I think about you asking your brother to help you with your difficult math homework. I think about the stress that I see on your face. I know you feel your life is too hectic! Three kids and three pets doesn’t call for a very quiet and relaxing house. I will work on giving you more down time. I will work on checking in with you more.

Tonight I just want you to know that I see you. I see your stress. I see how hard you work. I am proud of you but I am also concerned. I want to see us cuddle more on the couch. I want us to meditate together. Maybe you would enjoy a walk with Tanner and I. Just know, that I am your mom and I am always here for you. Despite what your father may think, I am your number one cheerleader. I will always be there to support you, cheerlead for you, and pick you up when you fall.

As you start to get moody, as you enter into the tween zone, I want you to know that we will get through every phase of life together. I want you to know that you can talk to me about anything. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

I hope you enjoyed your night at home. Your one and only devoted mom! xoxo