• Lara Flanagan

Letter to Archie & Rissie – 8 years & 9 months

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

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Dear Archie and Larissa

You are 8 years and 9 months old today.  At present you are sleeping soundly after a very big few weeks, and as per usual, I am awake.   Tomorrow morning, we embark on the biggest adventure of our lives thus far, and I have a million thoughts running through my head.

I look at your little hands and feet, so perfect in every way, and right now I am worried about these perfect little hands and feet being consumed by hungry, vicious, multiple Costa Rican crocodiles.

We met with our cousin Liza today, who having just returned from Costa Rica casually mentioned crocodiles. Crocodiles?   For god’s sake.  Then I google searched Costa Rica and Crocodiles and wished I hadn’t.  Apparently there is a friendly little croc in Bejuco River – just around the corner from where we will be staying for a month.   What if he is a party-animal crocodile and has a lot of crocodile friends who come and stay?   I have been tossing and turning feeling like an absolutely shite mother worrying about crocodiles that I never knew were an issue in Costa Rica. Sloths, howler monkeys, iguanas, snakes and mosquitos as big as airplanes did not concern me – but crocodiles shite me to tears.

Then about 3.30am I came down and google searched some more.  Beautiful beach, Pacific coast with very powerful current so don’t go out too deep, never many people, can walk for miles, collect shells, contemplate your navel under the palm trees – general verdict is that we are going to a little deserted Paradise (with a bloody crocodile).  Then I decided to stop looking for reasons to worry, turn off google and pull my head in.

You see Archie and Rissie, there will always be crocodiles.  So try not to let them come out of the Louisana Bayou in your mind and eat up your dreams in your sleep.  It is so easy to find reasons to not do things.  So easy to feed on fear, whether it be your own or other people’s.  At the moment the world is a topsy-turvy crazy place and people seem to feed on fear.   Bad people and bad things can generally only thrive when they are being fed by fear.  So don’t feed those things.  There are so many things that feed on fear, happiness is not one of them.

Tell the crocodiles to go back to the Bayou and keep your dreams away from them.   They are not theirs to eat.  Your dreams are yours and yours alone.

(I will still be checking on the crocodile situation in Costa Rica though – I sort of have to.  But not because they are eating my dreams, just because I think it would be very unwise not to.  Or completely bloody bonkers.  Whatever. I am checking out the crocodile situation.)

Say yes.

I am not talking about stupid arsed things like drugs, drink-driving, being a drunken hoe, robbing banks, a life of crime or anything crazy like that – you will always say no to those things.  Because I say so and you know what I am like when I freak out. Nor am I talking about becoming a martyr and one of those people who is so busy saying yes to being everyone’s saviour that they are incapable of looking after themselves.  Martyrs end up being a pain in everyone’s backside, spend their lives telling everyone constantly how much they do for other people and invariably end up being quite tiresome to be around.  So don’t be smart, I am not talking about those things.

I am talking about saying yes to life.  Say yes to experiences.  Say yes to new things.  Say yes to things that make your heart sing with joy.  Say yes to things that scare you because of the sheer impossibility of them.  Say yes to dreams.  Say yes to as many things that grab your heart and soul as you can.  In the words of Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover.”  In the words of your Momma, say yes.  Say yes.

You are the master of your own destiny.  (You too Rissie, I am not into that PC crap – being a girl does not stop you – anyone can be a master of something grand).   You are the captain of your own ship.   Remember that.  Sometimes life is going to throw you curve balls.  Sometimes shitty things will happen that are beyond your control.  Sometimes life will suck and for a moment there will be absolutely nothing you can do about it.  But that will be only for a moment.  Because it is up to you as to how you rise above things.  It is up to you as to how you move on and handle things with grace.  It is completely up to you in the long run, whether you choose to laugh or cry.

The world does not owe us anything.  It is a bit like education and health-care.  Rather than whingeing about things that might be wrong or occasionally having to pitch in, be damn grateful that we live in a country where every citizen has access to health care and a life that starts with an education.  The world does not owe you happiness, laughter or success.  You owe it to yourself.   So manage your own destiny and choose happiness above all other things, and make sure you work really hard at that.  Every day you get up, choose to be happy, choose to be glad, and go from there.

In the last few years I was dealt an unlucky blow.  People told me that I was sick and I was going to get sicker.  They were full of it but for a moment, for a long time actually, I believed it and I became dark and twisted and let them take away my hope.  My destiny.  They started navigating my ship and I let them.  But then I said stop.  I got over it and stopped feeling sorry for myself and did something about it. It was not their right to tell me what was in front of me.  As soon as I said stop everything changed.   So remember, you control how you handle things, how you react, and invariably how you end up.  So please remember my little angels, with the intact feet and hands, it is your destiny, your ship.  Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

Right.  In 24 hours we will be arriving at the airport and I think I was just sick in my mouth.

Don’t let the crocodiles steal your dreams.

Say yes.

Be the master of your destiny and the captain of your ship.

Safe travels Archie and Rissie.  I wish you an extraordinary adventure.

Love your mummy.

#Motherhood #Travel

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