10/13/11

My Apologies

Dear Z,

Sometimes I am sorry you were born first. It just doesn’t seem fair that you were born to a mother who knew so little about babies, who was anxious and fearful so much of the time. There were nights when I would look down at you and just cry, from overwhelming love, yes, but also from fear and crushing responsibility and abject terror. I’m sorry to say that my tears have fallen on your face more times than any other person in the world, except probably my mom.

(I am sorry, Mom.)

I am sorry for loving you so much. Sometimes I feel the burdensome weight of my love for you, my first born, the way I sink into your good moments as if they have everything - anything - to do with me, the way I covet your hugs and kisses because I know they aren’t given easily and therefore, are so very precious.

I’m sorry too for the gaps and snags in my love. The moments when my best self is not in charge, when I just can’t find the strength to lead with love and care. The imperfections that make me human affect you in ways I wish they didn't. I know we are both good enough and that is good enough but damn, I wish I could be just a little bit better sometimes. For you.

I’m sorry for sometimes forgetting how little you are. For expecting you to always be my “big girl” and for letting your verbal abilities, which have always outpaced your emotional maturity, fake me into thinking you are older than you are. You should be allowed to curl up and be little sometimes, too.

I am sorry for that time I grabbed your shoulder roughly and you looked at me with fear in your eyes and my teeth were set so hard I'm sure you could hear my metal fillings grinding out a tinny percussive song. I hope you forget that moment and I promise to remember it enough for the both of us.

I am sorry for apologizing for things I shouldn't and missing things I should.

I am sorry to say that these apologies are only the ones I could think of today, while you watched a Dora.

Love,
Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama


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Dear E,

Sometimes I am sorry you were born second. It just doesn’t seem fair that you were born to a mother who felt stretched beyond her capacity, torn by her responsibilities for two little people who both needed so much from her. There were nights when I would look at you and cry when I realized I had pretty much ignored you for most of the day, dragging you around in your car seat, strapping you to my back for hours spent in the playground/playgroup/grocery store/kitchen. That I didn’t even have the time or energy to do anything differently made it even worse, somehow.

I am sorry for loving you so much. Sometimes I feel the burdensome weight of my love for you, my baby, the way I cradle you like you are an infant even though you are so big now, the way I greedily gather your kisses and hugs, so freely given and never, ever too much, and never, ever enough.

I’m sorry too for the gaps and snags in my love. The moments when my best self is not in charge, when I just can’t find the strength to lead with love and care. The imperfections that make me human affect you in ways I wish they didn't. I know we are both good enough and that is good enough but damn, I wish I could be just a little bit better sometimes. For you.

I’m sorry for forgetting how big you are sometimes. For expecting you to be “my baby" too often, for too long. I'm sorry for sometimes failing to see that you are getting bigger every day and are capable of handling the expectations and responsibilities of a big kid.

I am sorry for the time I left you strapped in your car seat, screaming, just closed the car door and cried myself for quite a while before I opened the door again and took you out. I know I did the right thing for myself at that moment but I really hate when the right thing for me is not the best thing for you. I know you won't remember that, as you were just a baby. And I know I will remember it enough for the both of us.

I am sorry for apologizing for things I shouldn't and missing things I should.

I am sorry to say that these apologies are only the ones I could think of today, while you watched a Dora.

Love,

Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama

14 comments:

Hillary said...

Oh yes. I'm sorry you've had a rough day, but YES. This is exactly what I feel for my own kiddos sometimes.

Especially this, for my Boy:
I’m sorry for sometimes forgetting how little you are. For expecting you to always be my “big girl” and for letting your verbal abilities, which have always outpaced your emotional maturity, fake me into thinking you are older than you are. You should be allowed to curl up and be little sometimes, too.

Kathi said...

The rough days SUCK, don't they? I have some of my own that I am embarrassed about and hope the kids won't remember. I also deeply feel the differences between my girls and the world they get by being first or second. Your girls are lucky though because they will have this beautiful blog to how much you care. This was one of my favorite posts. And hang in there. As much as this is an easier age because the kids are not infants anymore, I have found it to be an exhausting age, especially with terrible twos and kindergarten adjustments. If it makes you feel any better, I am right there with you. Big hugs!

Anonymous said...

This made me cry. There have been a few of these moments in my almost one year old's life. This is by far the hardest job in the world. I am so stuck right now. I really never thought I would just want one child, but I seriously don't know if I could handle more. This also makes me sad. I feel like a failure because I question my abilities on something so many others handle.

Stephanie said...

Sing it, sister.

Kate said...

Perfect. Perfect in their honesty and truthfulness. It sounds like we had the same kind of day...shall we blame it on the universe??

pamela said...

Thank you. This is so beautiful and true. This could be a letter to my own two boys, but I don't think I could have written it so beautifully or honestly.

What comes through is the love - only the love. And the knowledge that you are an amazing mother, through to your bones.

Anonymous said...

breathless & speechless after reading this - Especially the part about "grabbing your shoulder too hard" - i too have seen the look of terror in my toddler's eyes & it makes me feel like a complete monster --thanks for reminding me that we only get one shot at this & that the deep Love makes up for the imperfection - most of the time we are their heros, right? Thank you for making me feel like I am not alone.....

twisterfish said...

What Pamela posted above: "What comes through is the love - only the love. And the knowledge that you are an amazing mother, through to your bones."
Exactly!!!

It is obvious that you love your children. And you're human. And we all learn as we go. And you're doing a great job with both your girls whether you know it or not!

Sarah said...

Oh, thanks for this. I needed it. Man, things have been rough with our boy lately, and then yesterday he had his echocariogram and screamed and cried and flailed for no shit forty five minutes straight, and I had to hold him down and sing to him the whole time to even remotely control him. And I just wanted to cry so bad the whole time. Sometimes parenting is so much rougher than I thought it would be, and sometimes I yell and snap and slam the peanut butter down on the counter and nag nag nag and then I slump into a chair and get teary because, God, this is the most important thing I will ever do, this matters SO MUCH, and sometimes I feel like I'm doing such a woefully inadequate job.

grammalouie said...

OMG, I can't stand it any more. Stop being so hard on yourselves. You are ALL doing a superior job. Your children will grow up to be happy, well-adjusted people. I just know it. Stop worrying. I have faith in all of you. Especially the ONE I KNOW BEST. (who happens to be the Star Mother of All Time in my eyes).

shannon said...

Oh, the tears... thank you for this.

Your words to your girls are an inspiration to me. You are giving them such a gift through this blog. They will know you so much better than most of us ever knew our moms, as REAL people with hopes and dreams and fears and failures.

I too, know that look of terror in my son's eyes as my face contorts into rage, leaving me only seconds later filled with remorse, guilt and the dream to turn the clock back - back to when mommy was not a monster ( I liken it to the scene from Monster's Inc. if you've ever seen it).

Now for the letter to yourself...

B said...

This resonated so deeply with me. I could have written it myself. And now I have a new little guy who I just plopped into a swing and prayed would not need me for a while. He is 52 hours old and I already need him to be self-sufficient.

Another LA Mom said...

Thank you, this was beautiful. Since having my second I've struggled with balancing the needs of my two kids and feeling like I'm serving neither. And I've also done the too hard grab and felt terrible afterwards. Good to know others have the same challenges.

miyoko said...

ooof.

wiping the tears.

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