Dear Younger You: A time traveler’s letter to her mom

My mother told me, this past Mother’s Day, that of five kids, I am the most like my father. It was like hearing a native tongue that I had long ago forgotten how to speak. The memory of those childhood emotions made sense. And I started to understand…

That’s me there. I’m sorry baby me is crying again. You see, I was that baby, Mom.

I wish I could calm her, teach her how to not be so fussy, so difficult, so stubborn. I understand now what it must be like to see in your tiny human those qualities that both draw you in and frustrate you to no end. She turns out OK, least I think so, though the story is far from complete.

I want to focus on you, tell you some things you should have been told by your mom or your grandma or your sister or a girl friend. Maybe they were so caught up in their own worries that they didn’t see you.

I know you struggle with expectations. The expectations you may think society, your in-laws, your husband, or your family have. Expectations that you have for your husband, your children, yourself. And maybe you feel like you can never meet any of those standards or that they will ever meet yours.

I want to tell you something, Mom…

It’s OK. It’s OK that life is not what you thought it would be. That your marriage and parenting is not what you think it should be. That motherhood has changed you–physically and emotionally–in ways you may not like…that you think you are not what they want.

Let me make something clear to you: you are.

You are who they want.

Let me repeat that because you need to take it in soul deep and never let it go: you are who they want.

They really don’t care if they don’t have new presents, new clothes, or gourmet food. How fashionable or skinny you are or aren’t. Or how much you do or don’t know. They just want you. Your arms around them.

Your happiness.

Your smiles.

Your love.

So go on, love who you are so you can love them, as well.

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