An Open Letter to my Children: I’m Sorry

To my children, angels on earth:

Motherhood is the greatest gift that’s ever been bestowed upon me. Especially because I’m the lucky one that gets to call you mine.

But, as happy as you three make me, being a mom is painful.

Even the good times – the joy, the pride, the love. These happy emotions often hurt the most. They well up in my heart, sitting sharply in my chest, leaving me raw and stripped.

It’s the memories, the reminders of all that is now in the past, that roll down my cheek. Not because they were bad, but because they were good.

When you look inward like your mom often does, you come to understand how deep our feelings go. Our hurt, our delight, our damage, our pride – they are all seeded so profoundly in the earth, there’s no possible way to ever get to the root. That realization distresses me – slaps me awake – because I know that one day you will understand this, too.

The moment you were born, I looked at you and told myself – this is a perfect life, and I’m going to keep it perfect.  

It is with great agony that I tell you that your mommy wasn’t always able to protect you from myself, or from my demons.

I watched you as you slept, I kissed your laundry as I folded, I exalted in your celebrations, I agonized in you defeats.

But I spent your childhood afraid – afraid of not doing or being enough.

It’s true when they say life goes fast, because I blinked and then there you three stood before me, all grown up.  

We had more chaos than most, so sometimes when I look back, my memories are slightly blurred with a tinge of grey. But each day has been etched on my heart.

If you could only know how much each moment with you mattered to me.

What I’m trying to say is: when the day comes that you also look inward, and find that any of your perceived deficits run deep – back to your childhood, back to me – I’m sorry. Sorry for anything I’ve done. Sorry for anything I’ve failed to do.

It is with great agony that I tell you that your mommy wasn’t always able to protect you from myself, or from my demons.

You came with no instructions, but what I did know for sure was that I love you beyond imagination.  

I hope you understand that your mommy tried.

I did my very best. I did it all for you.

And, despite the pain, I’d do it all over again.

With all my heart,

Mommy

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