My Dear Daughters,
By now you have caught at least a glimmer that Mama Has Not Got “It” All Figured Out.
I can see it in your eyes every once in a while. And I’m sorry. For many things.
I’m sorry you have cavities. I blame juice, Lucky Charms, and too much trust that you could brush your teeth yourselves.
I’m sorry for the times, early in your lives, when I had postpartum and would buckle you into your car seats and drive until you went to nap. I honestly didn’t know what else to do.
I’m sorry for the times I’ve lied about having a headache when you asked me to play Hungry, Hungry Hippos. The truth is I didn’t want to listen to the noise of the game — or the sound of your little voices raised in persecuted outrage when I refused to let you win. Because, let me tell you, Mama (when teamed up with Picky Potomus) is a champion Hungry, Hungry Hippo player and I’m not going to just “let” you win.
I’m sorry for losing patience when you run up to me and yell, “Mommy! I need… I want… Mama! There’s… um… … … I… …,” and I think in my head, “Child, please. Please, for the Love Of God, Please Finish Your Sentence!”
There are countless ways I mess up as a mom. And there are countless ways you will believe I’m messed up yet thank me for later.
I will not ever be sorry for refusing to let you speak to me disrespectfully and reminding you Mama is a Person, Too. Later, when/if you have children of your own, you will realize the gift I have given you to know you can stand up for yourself as a human being.
I will not ever be sorry for refusing to let you watch television shows that show you too much, too soon. For there is a time to know about cursing, infidelity, lying and drunkenness… but it is not when your life is still filled with cupcakes, pink dresses, and a sincere belief in magic.
I’m not sorry for making decisions that place our family in a place of priority. Or taking you to church and telling you about God, even when these things are difficult or full of angst. You need a foundation if you will ever truly explore and I owe it to you to give you something to stand upon before you establish your own beliefs.
I will not let you wear high heels before you are a teenager. (Actually, your father is behind this. He calls them instruments of torture.) And it’s really ok if you never wear them at all, although I have low hopes for this. Feel free to borrow the heels in shoeboxes in the top of my closet when the time comes. Once I found Chacos I gave up on them forever.
I will force you to try new foods, new activities, to make new friends. I will bribe you to do these things when you’re scared so you learn to rejoice in attaining what you thought was unachievable. And you will eat a black eyed pea for good luck every New Years Day you spend around me.
I will not let you hit, bite, or scream at your siblings. When you lie there will always be a consequence. I will applaud the creativity you use to excuse your behavior… and then you’ll be in trouble anyway. Because right is right, even when it’s not popular.
You will always share a bedroom so you already know how to share your life with someone else when/if you get married. You will be reminded you are not the center of the universe.
Most of all, You Will Be Loved. Even when you make mistakes, when you act like a punk, when your actions don’t make any sense… you will be loved. That is a non-negotiable.
And at the end of our time on earth together I pray there will be more reasons you love your mom than moments you remember with distaste. That my tally of not-good mom moments is minuscule next to my tally of terrific mom moments.
Regardless. I’m not “letting” you win Hungry, Hungry Hippos.
Love you forever,
This post was originally published January 11, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!