Dear Families,

 

I am very new to parenting and there are a multitude of things I don’t yet understand nor have I perfected.  However, in my short time as a parent I’ve become acutely aware of several things.  One thing that I am most aware of is something I am wondering if you have experienced.

 

Annika, my daughter, is nine and she has evoked a feeling in me that I never knew existed.  It is a feeling in my chest.  The pressure on my chest permeates and penetrates every cell and vacant space situated there.  At times it feels like I am being crushed by the pressure and at other times it feels like the pressure from the inside is so great that it will cause my chest to explode.  Typically, the crushing feeling comes when I am worried, concerned or scared about or for her.  The explosion comes when I watch her sleep and wonder what did I ever do to deserve this or when she laughs so hard you can see it in her whole body or when she does something that sheds light on the fact that her very existence makes me want to be a better person.

 

This is what your children have done for me in the past week.  We spent four days together that I will never forget and the pride I feel for each one of them reaches deep within my chest and is causing it to explode.  I am a better person for knowing them.  In the hopes of becoming better individuals and creating a better space in the world in which we live they chose to push themselves to emotional and physical limits that are almost unimaginable.  We worked as a team where each person personified unbridled strength, fortitude, compassion, empathy, resilience, adaptability, love and respect.  They showed a level of selflessness and care for one another, whether they were marchers or the support team, that reflected the very essence of what the peace march is intended to honor and represent.  My goal here is not to be effusive; my hope is to paint a picture for you, a picture of the child you have raised.

 

So, in your stead please allow me to carry pride in your children for you and my earnest hope is that these words will, if even in a small way, allow you to experience a fullness in your chest knowing your child has done something tremendous.  My other fervent hope is that Annika will one day have the courage to do something similar.

 

Here’s to being proud of our kids.

 

Yours truly,

 

Emily Gamm

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