Wow! The last week has been quite a roller coaster of emotions as a result of my letter to Kai being posted on HuffPost Parents. It’s been exciting and overwhelming, heartwarming and devastating. I am so thankful to everyone who shared the letter, which was been “liked” on the newspaper’s website over 1,700 times. I sincerely appreciate all of the heartfelt comments. Many readers- fathers, mothers, grandparents, second and first children, reacted by recounting their own stories similar to mine or words of encouragement from places a bit further down the path of life. The theme through most of the comments was gratefulness. As parents and as children, we need to push ourselves to be grateful for what we can do, and what others are able to do for us. Recognizing both the small and large feats of everyday life and feeling truly thankful for them are what build our lives and make them precious.
Some readers were not so kind, either because they intended to be cruel from the get-go or they misread my letter. Although I would love to stand on a soap box and rant about topics like society’s influence on post-partum depression and kids learning to hate and to bully from their parents, I believe such discourse wouldn’t benefit the intended audience. So instead, below is some clarification of my letter for some who may have misinterpreted the message.
Being self-reflective is something that I actively work to do, and I do not know where I would be today, in any aspect of my life, if I had not taken the time to look at the prickly parts of my life and try to make changes. Writing down these memories was a way to challenge myself to fix my imperfections. Although it was written for a working moms’ website, the audience was truly meant to be myself and anyone who might have had similar, unspoken lists of her own. I did not write something for the Huffington Post to benefit my “self-absorbed” self with national attention.
Although the list of things that I could have done better with in my life is much longer than the fifteen or so items I listed for Kai (I have similar lists that swirl around in my head: things I would like to do better for my husband, Adonis, my parents and family, my friends, coworkers, students, my house, my college/high school/middle school experience and on and on… ), it does not reflect the status of my life or my relationships.
Each day is filled with countless moments, both the flawed and the flawless. In my life, no complete day is perfect, and no repetitive moment, like suppertime, is repetitively imperfect. I have moments when Adonis is clinging to my legs, pulling me down by his weight, crying his head off because he wants me to make him something to eat, and Kai is screaming in my arms, wondering where his boobie is. How long does this last? Two minutes… five minutes… and oh geeze, sometimes even ten minutes. And sometimes, when something’s got to give in this moment, I put Kai in his gym, or turn on Go Diego Go for Adonis. And I finish Adonis’ snack, and I whip out the boobie. And we survive it and carry on. This is a moment that I frankly do not relish; but times like this, and like others in my letter to Kai, don’t mean that life itself is not the wonderful dream that I’ve always wished for.
So readers, please understand that my letter was not an absolute picture of my life. Kai was just eating solid food for a mere four days when I forgot that he was eating solid food and he was no longer only in need of milk, and although I wasn’t there to feed him his first spoonful, his daddy, great-grandmother, grandmother, great-aunt, and uncle were all there to celebrate with him. Kai’s “five” outfits was used as a hyperbole, to make the point that I wish he had more things to call his own, although he does wear PJs most days, still, because I selfishly find him to be the perfect squishy teddy bear in them.
God willing, I will be able to continue to live my ordinarily imperfect life with my family and have many more “oh crap!” moments. I know I’ll grow as a mom, my husband will grow as a father, and my kids will flourish. They already are.
In the meantime, if you were callous in your comments on to my letter to Kai, please know that you are in my prayers.