I originally wrote this as a “guest blog” piece for https://www.thedaddyletters.com and it is shared on that website as well. You can follow The Daddy Letters on Facebook and Instagram at https://www.facebook.com/TheDaddyLetters/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf
Lach has created a beautiful blog and place to share his letters for his young children. Here is my contribution for Mother’s Day, 2017.
Dear Addison and Matthew~
It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday which doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. In my world, I chose you, and therefore I wanted to be a mother, and I wouldn’t change a thing. For the first few years of your life, I was a mother lost in the crazy, all-consuming life of parenthood, worrying about your developmental milestones, protecting your little bodies (and especially Matthew’s grand and Mitch style head) and decoding your words. Like most mothers, I was sure each action, each ability was nothing short of pure genius. As parents, it is our job and frankly our nature to believe you are perfect and the next prodigy at a nearly everything you touch. The innocence of it all is so romantic and pure and comes from a place of love that you will never understand unless you become a parent yourself someday.
I felt it was my role as your mother to give you everything you ever wanted and needed and I’d do it all with a Pinterest-style quality that would ensure your childhood would be blissful, perfect and straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. For the most part, my plan was working. I didn’t sleep much, but the house was clean, you went to every play date we could arrange, you ate wonderful foods (all organic of course), and I read and sang to you each night. Often, I’d do all of these things at the expense of my self-satisfaction, care, and fulfillment because that’s what mother’s do.
I don’t regret this time of our lives except, in many ways, had I realized my quest for perfection was leading to my self-destruction I might have made adjustments sooner. As they say, hindsight is always 20/20. I was providing for you the perfect childhood that I had always craved and never had the chance to be given. Your mommy was a daughter of divorce; my family life broke since before I could walk so I became determined that you wouldn’t know such heartache. All you would know was what I was willing to show you. Two parents in love, a beautiful house, stability, and enough joy to carry with your forever.
We make plans, and the universe has a way of changing them when we least expect it.
We make plans, and despite our best efforts as parents to protect your utopian world, sometimes we can’t stop what happens next.
When your father died on October 2009, my biggest fear was the loss of your imperfectly, perfect world. I had given you everything I had ever dreamed of as a mother, and it was taken away from us in the blink of an eye. For the next several years, I went through ever pain imaginable (and still sometimes do), worrying about your happiness, your well-being, your mental fortitude and that empty place that now sits in your heart from his absence. I tried to replace him every which way I could in the time that immediately proceeded his passing. I bought useless stuff, I took you many places, and I surrounded you with a village that would give you the love I knew you so desperately needed and I couldn’t always provide in the wake of tragedy.
You didn’t need the stuff….it was just a band-aid that never fit.You were too young to care where we went….it more for me than you.
The village was and still is my greatest gift to you because it has taught us all that love and utopia come in different forms and don’t always mimic what we think is perfection.
So it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, and I want to tell you both this:
Just like the first few years of your existence, I still want you, and I’m still so damn proud to be your mom.
Just like in the beginning, I still wish to protect you and provide the best surroundings possible. That being said, I can’t predict the future, and I won’t make unrealistic promises that life will be perfect. The universe will hand you additional challenges, and even when you want to say, “stop, I’ve had enough” you must realize that self-pity will never make your pain go away, it will only serve to make you feel helpless, weak and tired. I can assure you that forward movement is the only way to work within and through life’s heartaches.
I’ve learned you are not perfect, but you are still perfect in my eyes. Prodigy or the not….the world is your oyster if you work hard and follow your passions. Addison, your philosophical mind, and sincere heart are full of empathy that will help you to understand the world at a level most will never comprehend, that’s a gift, don’t let someone tell you it’s not. Matthew, your kind spirit, and your pure heart are refreshing and childlike and remind me of a man who loved life so deeply that he never missed smiling at a sunset or standing in awe at the sight of a mountaintop.
I can’t fix what life took away from you seven years ago.
I can’t bring him back or change the course of our path.
What’s done is done, and what’s lost is carried in our hearts and honored with our smiles.
Making your life perfect was never in my ability to provide.
Making sure you know how deeply you are loved and how fully we can live through all of the imperfections in this life, makes being your mother my truest gift.