To My Children,
I had no idea that being a mother would be so hard. I had no way of knowing before you both came into my world that I would face so many challenges each day, that my shortcomings would often be exposed, and that I would be enormously unprepared, and at times ill-equipped, for the bumps in the road of our journey together. I truly did not know how badly I would suck at this sometimes. And, in all honesty, it is probably better that I did not know, because if I had, there is a very good chance that I may have been too afraid to take the leap. After all, motherhood is not for the faint of heart.
From the moment that you made your entrance into my life, nothing was as I imagined it would be. I would love to tell you that as soon as I laid eyes on you, I embraced you against my bare chest, completely in love, and vowed never to let you go. But, the reality is that after 21 hours of labor, a botched epidural, nearly two hours of pushing, forceps, and stitches, when you finally arrived, I mostly wanted you to be anywhere but in my arms because I was exhausted. I did eventually come around and fall in love with you though. In fact, over the years, I have fallen in love with you again and again and again.
A mother’s love is fierce, boundless, infinite … it is expansive and knows no limits. A mother’s love lies in the bitter-sweetness of all things. It is the most intense rage and gentlest love, at the same time. It is the rainbow after every storm.
Despite the little run with Postpartum Depression that tricked me into believing that loving one of you was in some way a betrayal to the relationship that I had with the other, and despite the fact that you are both completely, independently, different human beings with separate personalities, temperaments, and interests, not a moment has ever passed by when I have loved one of you more or less than the other. And, to be fair, you both drive me equally crazy in different ways at different times.
Sadly, I spend more time loving you from a distance or in retrospect than I would like, but parenting is strange in that way. I have heard many parents say that when they are with their children, they long for a break. And when they have a break, they long for their children. I am not immune to this by any means. Many days are spent yelling and not because I do not want to do better. But because sometimes I am too tired or overwhelmed. And sometimes, I just do not know how. But please know that every night I long for a better tomorrow.
I am not really sure if anything I am doing is “right” or will help you to be awesome at life one day, but I try to give you both what you need, even when there is so little of me left to give. I parent completely from the heart and am trying so bad that it hurts. I will do my best to give you the tools you need to make good decisions and to guide you when I am able, but I also know that mistakes and struggles are necessary ingredients to success, and so, even if it kills me I am going to let you sit with the consequences of your decisions, good or bad, whenever necessary. And know that on those days when you really, really mess up, my disappointment will still pale in comparison to my love.
So, do not hesitate to tell me anything … And everything. I cannot hurt for you, but I will always hurt with you. And with every fiber of my being, I will want to make it all go away even though I likely cannot. I know this because when one of you (who shall remain nameless) was sent to the principal’s office this week, I knew it was warranted, but I still could not wait to hold you with the warmest, most loving arms and tell you that it would all be okay. Perhaps I needed to know that your soul was not crushed before mine could rest easy, because in many ways, you are an extension of me now. The once independent woman that I was would now be incomplete if it were not for you. Perhaps had I not been blessed with you both, my life would have been simpler; in some ways, easier. But I assure you, it would not have been better.
My wish is for you both to be good people; to be strong and kind; to be brave, to take chances, and to not let fear stop you from fully living this one life you have. I want you to be honest, to own your decisions, and to never be afraid to say “I’m sorry” to those you love. My wish is for you to grow to be fully, completely, 100% who you are at your core (as long as you are not an asshole at your core. In that case, be better). And I want you to surround yourself with people who see your full worth and know how lucky they are to have you in their lives.
Lastly, my wish is that you will learn to love yourself as I love you … fiercely, boundlessly, infinitely.
Let me show you how.
All My Love,