I wasn’t and am not entirely sure where to begin with this letter, I only know I have to write it. I guess I’ll start and end with hope that one day you’ll be able to see me as I truly am, with the heart and space that will be forever yours in my soul. I will ALWAYS have space for you.
Every mother has a story or two (or twenty) inside of her that her children will never know. I have thousands of stories that will never make your ears, just as you will, when and if you ever decide to have children of your own. No one gives you a manual when you have children and I am pretty sure no one would have handed me that manual at 16 when I first got pregnant with you my son, but never the less, I became a mother at the height of my mental illness and anorexia, although at the time I had no idea what was happening to me. I am so sorry you had to live through that with me.
Shortly after I became pregnant again at 18 and you, my daughter were born. You didn’t have it much better, both of you incredible blessings, loved and wanted.
But I wont lie, it was really, really difficult having two kids before I was 19 years old. I had to get my high school education AND my college education while juggling 2 of you! Oh and work, I have ALWAYS worked since I was 15 years old, at one time, I had THREE jobs, was going to school FULL time, worked FULL time and had two kids under age 6, a marriage and a household. What 19 year old has that on their plate? I was trying to make the chaos count. I was trying to be everything and do everything to secure a future for us.
I wished with everything in my being that I had been able to be with you in your younger years, but we needed food and shelter and shit like that and I was it.
I know you must have felt disappointed with every award ceremony and teacher conference I missed, but all I can tell you is that if it had been an option for me, I would have been there. It didn’t just scar you that I couldn’t be there, it scarred me too. There isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t regret all the times I couldn’t show up for you, because in my adult years, after all this therapy I now realize how important it is just to have someone’s presence.
I am sorry that there were so many times in your life that I wasn’t present for you in the way you needed me.
Being a single, teenage mother wasn’t exactly easy. You guys were a blessing, but I was shunned. No adult woman wants to hang out with a teen-aged mother, what could we possibly have in common? It was very lonely and very isolating and the depression, or what I would call my “dark days” because I didn’t even know depression was a thing would grab hold. It was a very real monster that I’ve spent my whole life fighting.
I’m still fighting. I fight for you.
I fight every single day so as not to cause you any more pain or disappointment. I think the reason I started creating art was so that you could see that your mother IS fighting the darkness and that maybe if I keep creating beautiful things that you’ll know how hard I fight my mental illness and that I am staving off darkness to the best of my ability.
I want you to know I AM present and I WILL make whatever time you need, whenever you need it.
I want you to know that all mothers are complex, beautifully crafted beings.
I can still smell the way each of you smelled the day you were born. And it’s so so so true… I’d do anything to go back and parent you with the heart and the life experience I have now, but I can’t.
I can only hope that going forward I am the parent you deserve because you are the most wonderful, intelligent, compassionate, empathetic, kind and giving creatures on this planet. The world is an asset with you in it. Watching you grow in to these amazing humans has been the single greatest joy and accomplishment of my life. I can’t believe how lucky I am.
I wanted to say thank you, thank you for growing up with me and I hope you can forgive my shortcomings and celebrate the things I’ve done right.
I love you to the moon and back.
Your crazy mom