A Letter For My Children

To my Bug and Bean, my boy and my girl, the pieces of me that make up my heart:

Bug and Bean

What a wonder you both are. I think that often, and I remember to tell you that sometimes, but writing that down means you will one day read it, and that you will know.

Some days I am conscious about this thing called parenthood. I am fully alive to it, and fully present. I remember that you are worth it, that I will never get my fill of you.

And some days I would much rather hide in the pantry and eat all the chocolate and let you two figure it out on your own if it means I never have to vacuum the carpet again.

For those days I am sorry.

I’m sorry for the times I make the world feel more frightening than beautiful, that curiosity can be dangerous when it leads you away from me. It is your job to wonder, and mine to be diligent. So let your feet wander, and I’ll count your steps for you. Find the awe in all things, and invite others to search with you. Look closely and for the big picture. Discover what’s inside or underneath or above or below. While you marvel at the world, I will marvel at you.

I’m sorry when I use all the wrong words to describe you. You are not noisy, you are filled to bursting with life. You are not incessant, you are interesting, and interested. You are not bossy, you are a leader, natural and visionary. You are pieces of me, and of your father, and of all the wonderful people who came before you, traits that have not yet been dulled by growing up or watered down by fitting in, strands woven together to make something — someones — completely different and brand new. You are intricate.

I’m sorry for the times I make you feel small and forgettable, brushed aside or less than. It’s a feeling that sinks in your stomach and can take root in your soul. It’s a sucky feeling to have, and I’m sorry when I make you feel it. But we are small and forgettable in this great, big world that is also small and forgettable in this great, big universe, and knowing that — instead of feeling it — puts things in perspective. I’m sorry when I forget that perspective and make a big deal over of the juice you spilled or the plate you broke.

I’m sorry when I think doing the dishes is more important than having a tea party or playing basketball in the driveway. I’m sorry when I place you somewhere on my list of priorities, of Things to Do, like parenting is a set of boxes to check off. I’m sorry when I forget that parenting is an animal cracker safari and not the crumbs left on the floor; that it’s a dozen chalk-drawn hopscotches on the sidewalk and not the colored dust they leave on your new dress; that it’s a few extra chapters even though you can read perfectly on your own and not the minutes stretching past bedtime.

I’m sorry when I expect so much more of you than I should. I’m sorry when I forget you aren’t yet a man, and that I am only partly responsible for what kind of man you should be. I’m sorry when I make you feel like you should be so much more grown up than you really are. I know that day will be here too soon and, in spite of my meddling, will be greater than I could ever have intended.

I’m sorry when I am not the best role model you see. I’m sorry when I buy the lies that I am not beautiful, that I was not created intricately and with purpose. I’m sorry when I cringe at my reflection or frown at my waist, forgetting you are watching, forgetting that you look more like me than anyone else in the world. I teach you to be kind to everyone but sometimes forget that includes our Selves.

I will always love you thoroughly, even if it is imperfectly. Even when my heart wants to explode just from the sight of you sleeping, I can’t love you the way you were created to be loved.

But I promise to point you to the One who does.

Love,

Your so, so, so blessed mom.

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