• Lara Flanagan

Letter to Archie & Larissa – 8 Years & 5 Months

Updated: Feb 26, 2020


I don’t want my children to grow up.  Sometimes I would like to wrap them up in cotton wool and keep them in a box just the way they are.  Putting it like that makes me sound like a serial killer and best mates with Hannibal Lecter which is a little bit creepy and not at all what I intended.  There is a magical age somewhere between the ages of 2 and 5 where kids live in an incredible little world. Anything is possible, they beat to the march of their own divine drums and they don’t give a rat’s arse what anyone else thinks. They think they can do anything, they will cry if their hat is not the right colour and scream blue bloody murder if their favourite dress is in the washing machine. The world is their own private little oyster to be savoured. Then at some indefinable stage they become to change and grow up, even though they are still babies.

They worry about what people think, if people like them, if they are doing the right thing and at times they get moody, anxious and stressed. Where did my little magical people who lived in the oyster bubble go?   Rissie flung herself onto the kitchen table today and burst into tears, “My life is all dried up, and it’s all crumpled”.  Then she sobbed hysterically for a few seconds and disappeared.  A few minutes later she was laughing about something with Archie so she was fine, but my little momma radar was on high alert. 

Perhaps she was just mimicking my tendency to the dramatic and ability to sprout complete bullshit, but still I didn’t want my little girl to utter even once that her life was all dried up.  So many things I wish I could say to Archie and Rissie, so many sage pieces of advice.  Of course as kids are prone to do they would ignore me.  They are getting to the age where they know better.

But I was inspired to write them a letter; I will put it in their memory box which I have put aside for when they turn 18.  Perhaps they will thank me; perhaps they will say I am bat-shit crazy. But always and forever, everything I do will be out of love for my twin monsters.

Letter to Archie & Larissa

April, 2016

8 years & 5 months old

Dear Archie and Larissa

This is the first of many letters that I plan to write to you.   You are 8 years old and 5 months and I couldn’t love you more if I tried.

Rissie, today you collapsed on the kitchen table and said “my life is all dried up, and it’s all crumpled”.  I thought it was a tad dramatic but it inspired me to give you some advice.  You are both getting a little bit older and if I could protect you from all the bad things that can happen I would, but I can’t.  I can really only give you advice and write copious amounts of crap.

Occasionally your world will feel all dried up.  Or perhaps the black dog will come knocking at your door.  Nobody is immune to bad times, feeling depressed or occasionally drowning in despair.  The key is to remember that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and that bad times always end.  Life is a constant roller coaster and occasionally you need to experience the god-awful lows to truly appreciate the joy-filled highs.

Try not to worry so much about things that don’t matter.   If you are worried about something ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen – chances are the worst thing is not that bad after all.  9 times out of 10 the things we worry about never happen or don’t really exist, so try somehow to worry less.

You come from a line of volatile, imaginative and slightly crazy people. You will be prone to drama and over-exaggerating.  Occasionally you are going to have to realise that you don’t need to go over the top about everything.  But if you feel strongly about something and it keeps you awake at night then as your mother, I say let it take you wherever your heart desires. Occasionally you need to run with the wolves. I can’t explain that sentence but it felt right – which is sort of what I am talking about.

Don’t ever be scared of feeling deeply and strongly about something.

Believe in magic.  Even when you find out about the truth about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, after you have gotten over your initial disappointment and realised how amazing your mother was, then return to the belief of magic.  Rainbows do have magic worlds beyond them and I truly did see a unicorn.  Never stop believing.

Don’t worry about people who laugh at you.  Seek those you can laugh with.  If someone is laughing at you they may have a few mixed up reasons for it such as they are having a bad day or you are being genuinely funny.   If they do not have a good reason they are generally an arsehole so it doesn’t matter what they do anyway.   Only care about those you laugh with.  If you find someone who makes you laugh until you wet your pants keep them in your life.  Laughter is food for the soul.

At all times be kind.   None of us are guaranteed to be famous, rich, gorgeous, a perfect 10 or any of those things.  But something we can guarantee is kindness.   All living creatures deserve kindness.   Kindness is not hard, it is a gift you can bestow on many.  If you are always kind you will always be surrounded by happiness.   If you cannot be kind, ask yourself why not and address it.   Kindness is like laughter.  Something that guarantees happiness.

Eat well.  Let food be your medicine.  You inherited really shitty genes from your parents.  Don’t let those shitty genes turn into anything more than that.  Eat good food and share it with joyous abandon.

You might not remember but at 8 years and 5 months you were both increasingly anxious about a house that had fewer and fewer belongings in it.   We are currently preparing to go backpacking for 12 months.   I hope that we will be creating a thousand amazing memories.    Remember as you grow up that memories and experiences will always outweigh things.   At the end you can’t take any of your things with you, but you memories will be part of your soul.

Love deeply.  Love your family, your friends and eventually your partners. But not too early, if you want to get married at a ridiculously early age I will say no, more on that another time but NO.   Bestow as much love as you can on those that are dear to you.

Lastly for today.   Just remember that we are all  winging it.   No-one really knows what they are doing.   The only thing we can do is do everything the best way that we can.  If you feel like you have no bloody idea, chances are everyone else feels like that too.  Just give it your best shot. Do the best that you can and everything will work out as it should.

You have to have the lows to experience the highs.

Worry less.

Don’t stop believing in magic.

Find those that make you laugh.

Remember to be kind.

Eat well and share great food.

Collect beautiful memories.

Love deeply.

Do the best you can.

Love your mummy.

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