As I approach 30 I find myself doing a lot of soul-searching and self-analysis. This has led me to face a lot of the shadows in my past. Some of them I created, some of them I used to hide bad memories or mistakes, and some are just a part of life. However, all of them, when left unchecked, have the potential to grow and overtake the light in my spirit. Indeed, at one time or another each of them has, resulting in imbalances that often took a very serious toll on my life and those around me. As I begin to embrace 30 I also begin to address these shadows, clean what I can from the darkness, and accept them as a part of me rather than avoid them as blights. Each one has made me who I am today, and each one continues to me an opportunity to grow as a person.
This Mother’s Day we took Hubby’s mom to the zoo. The day before that I spent with friends and their young daughter. I had my moments of grief and loss, of nostalgia and loneliness, and even of regret that I hadn’t holed myself up all weekend, but by the end of last night I was happy for the experience and the new clarity it gave me as I move forward. With that clarity came messages to three generations of who I am.
To My Mother:
I’m sorry. For all the things a child cannot articulate. For all the opportunities to tell you I loved you, to hug you, to spend a day with you that went empty. For the places in my life where you tried to teach me better only to have me forget or ignore the lessons. For letting myself hold on for so long to losing you instead of the memories of who you were. For not having the chance to have an adult Mother-Daughter relationship with the most important person who has ever loved me; the one who loved me enough to give me a chance at life. I will never take that gift for granted again. Thank you. For continuing to teach me those lessons. I see you more and more inside me every year, and there are days when I can’t fathom how you managed all that you did with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. You sacrificed more for me than I will ever truly understand. You loved even when it hurt, you fought for what you believed in, and you followed the path that felt right for you no matter who tried to tell you otherwise. There have been so many times in my life when I’ve missed you and longed for your advice. Thank you for that model. Forgive me if I’m struggling to do as well as you did.
To My Unborn Child:
I may have never held you in my arms, but you are always in my heart. I’m sorry. For not being able to protect you. For not being able to give you a life. For being scared and unprepared. Thank you. For giving me a reason to keep going through one of the darkest points of my life. For still giving me hope that someday I will be a good Mommy. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and wonder what my life would be like now with you in it.
I’m sorry. For letting you carry this weight on your own for so long. For abusing and neglecting you. For the resentment and the guilt. For never telling you that you were not to blame, that you did everything you could with what you had, and that you were loved. For leaving you alone in the darkness and depression, hoping you’d eventually just fade away. Thank you. For not giving up. For having the faith I could not. For being strong, beautiful, and even happy at times despite me. For believing in us and knowing someday I would come around. With you on my side I know I can accomplish anything.
There it is, friends. One of the hardest letters I’ve ever had to write. Two phrases that far too often go unsaid to our parents, our children, and ourselves.
Go now, be at peace.