They told me you would change my world. They said I would know love like I have never experienced. They told me that when I hold you and rock you through the night it would create moments you never want to end, spending the rest of my life looking back on with a mixture of euphoria and sadness. They told me your first milestones of smiling, saying Mama and your first steps would make my heart sing. They told me I would feel unconditional love. What no one told me was that beyond all the love I feel for you, is something far greater and more profound. What I didn’t know was how you would heal me.
All the moments big and small, when I hold you and watch you sleep, and the ones where your sadness is soothed by my hug, or when I pick you up from the bus stop to see your overflowing happiness as you run to tell me about your day; what you don’t know is that in those moments I was being put back together. In your smile rests a healing potion that takes memories and patches them up with a purity and joy beyond my wildest imagination. You have taken the childhood that was turbulent and sad and covered the holes with all the goodness you exude just by your presence in my world.
You give me a chance to experience childhood again through your eyes and give you the hugs I was not given and the I Love You’s I did not hear. The constant companion of loneliness has been a thread strung through my being for so long, and it was not until I had you that the thread finally broke loose.
As you both grow and gain some independence away from me, I do not feel sad. I will never look at a onesie and make you feel guilty for not being a baby anymore, or comment by telling you, “slow down” or “stop growing up so fast.” If you grow and thrive, so do I. My promise to you is I will try my best, though I will make mistakes. My difficult past though mostly rests far away, has moments that surprise me... when my yelling voice sounds like my mother or my mood changes without provocation, I am reminded that voice is not mine, it is learned. I will try to catch those moments and stop them in their tracks, but you are still healing me, and I am still learning.
I promise to not expect you to fix me, but just let your presence remind me daily that I must be better for you. I will stumble, especially when I am asked to help you through a painful process like a girl teasing you or your own moments of self-doubt or your first crush or your first heartbreak. I did not get through these things in a healthy way so I am not sure how to teach you, but I will try.
They did not tell me that you had the power to fix all my broken places put there by my own mother. They did not tell me that heartache would now mean that I loved someone so much. They did not tell me because we don’t talk about these things, but we should. So, this is my open letter to you, my daughters, and to every other mother in the world who has had to parent without the role model we should have had. Let’s thank our children for all they do, just by being here. And while you are at it, give that little girl inside your mind a hug for all she did not get.