Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve begun to unravel the year I will soon be leaving behind. This past year, quite honestly, has left a few scars in it’s wake, along with numerous opportunities for soul stretching and an expansion of heart. These steps, of course, have brought me sightly closer to recognizing the mother that I am, encompassing all of the tenderness and doubts that sit in the corners of my mind.
As I started to compose a letter for forgiveness, one that I didn’t even realize was needed, an awakening began to stir inside of me as the smooth, onyx ink of the pen transcended onto paper. I felt as if the last couple of months were coming into focus. As if the delicate looking glass that was set upon my eyes was beginning to evoke a feeling of surrender that I had been longing to embody. I allowed the words to flow freely and the air of forgiveness to wash through me. All at once, I realized that the mother that I was in 2013, the mother that I had always been and will be, is enough. Oh yes, how I know that that plea for acceptance is repeated over and over again, making it seemingly devoid of meaning.
How can it possibly apply to my life? My essence as a mother. In actuality, I have realized that I am more that enough. I am present. I love with a ferocity that doesn’t quite mirror anything I’ve ever experienced before. I’ve strengthened our bond between mother and son, which once and for all negates the old adage that blood is thicker than water. I have heard the words, “I love you,” which comes from the blossoming soul of a three year old.
All of these realizations together quickly added up to an overabundance of deep and loving connections. It was as if the images of this past year were coming forth in bright and unambiguous clarity. I began to surrender my doubts. My fears. The cracked and useless measuring stick that I stand beside often times during my darkest of days. I walked surely over the shattered pieces that were now left, discarded on the floor. The pieces of myself that I never took the time to embrace. To make peace with. Because after all, you are your shining moments, as well as your less than stellar ones. And that’s alright. They are to be expected and in no way do they make you less of a mom. Less than enough.
Here are the words that began this freeing transformation. The unraveling of judgement that I impose upon myself, almost everyday that dissolved into forgiveness…
Dear Mama of 2013,
I want to jump right in without pleasantries and say that I forgive you. I forgive you for not being the mother that I expected you to be. For having days when you didn’t give 100%, or hell even 50%, of your attention to your little one. Because, the thing is, it isn’t even possible to give 100% of yourself to someone else, even someone that you love so dearly. And that’s alright.
You are forgiven in my eyes because you’ve shared countless moments of togetherness with your child. Special moments throughout the day. Whether it was reading a book or going on a walk, you’ve allowed him to feel your love simply by being there in the moment, side by side. You’ve talked about what the wind feels like as it tickles your face and visited the farmer’s market where you’ve sampled the sweet taste of summer. You’ve discussed what it means to be thankful and listed the many blessings that have graced your lives. Together, you learned what birds in your region like to eat and watched as they gathered on the feeder that was constructed by father and son.
I want you to know that you are forgiven for the days in which you allowed your little one to watch his favorite show more than once, or twice, or three times on T.V., because most weeks you allowed for lazy afternoons at the park. To breathe in the fresh air. To meander through the trees and the paths drenched in green. You stopped to inspect the butterflies and looked into the eyes your little boy as you lifted him higher and higher on the teeter-totter. It’s ok that you glanced at your phone more than once while he slid down the mini slide over and over again because you saw him and he saw you.
He says that he loves you. He slips his hand into yours as he leads you to yet another construction site that he has procured for the two of you to enjoy. He lays his head on your shoulder as you carry him down the stairs because you give him comfort. Security. A sense of family.
Oh, dear Mama of 2013, you have come so far. Quieted your voice and listened so that you could hear what he needed before he could even get the words out. You looked at your little one, not as baby, but as a person that you treated accordingly- like you would hope to be treated. Yes, there were slip-ups, backslides every now and then, but you are human. Everyone is. And he loves you regardless. Just please remember that you’ve had so many of these simple, ordinary moments of beauty that will be cherished gently in the hearts of those involved. Ones that we have captured through images on paper and in our minds. Ones that encompass love. In the end, that’s all that matters. That you loved.