The Diligence of A Mother's Heart
A Letter to my Children
My Dear, Sweet Babies, I write to you to express my sincere apology. I am terribly sorry for the extent to which I have fallen short of your deservings. It seems, despite my relentless effort, I am unable to reach the bar blatantly labeled “enough”. In this failure, I become conscious of how I have also come up short in my gentleness, my understanding, my presence and, ultimately, in my love. But oh, how I have tried and will continue to try to be enough.
I am so aware of all you are deserving of – more than this world in its entirety could ever offer you. Yet, you have been graciously gifted to this simple, struggling soul of mine. How could I ever do you justice? How can I, in my lack, shortcoming, weakness and self-doubt, be all you need to become the strong, fulfilled, accomplished and confident beings I so badly desire for you to be? You are amazing. I beam with pride watching you, and observing how you've grown. Though I have been by your side every step of your journey, I am reluctant to take any credit for your accomplishments – more focused on how I have failed you rather than how I have positively influenced, encouraged, and guided you. A knot forms in my throat as I imagine how much more I could have done or I could have been, even though, every time, I laid all I possessed at your feet.
At the end of each day, I lay my head on my pillow, close my eyes and feel my heart ache in my chest for every moment of impatience and injustice I dealt you, to the point where every action of love, devotion and gentleness I gave, are abandoned. I reason with myself, willing to believe the standard I demand is unreachable. I can recognize I am too hard on myself and, how I, too, am deserving of the same gracious love you are. Yet, this is another area in which I feel I fail. Taking self-care measurements and developing self-love was removed from my to-do’s as nothing comes before you, your dad, and our family. Daily, I experience the explosion of love for you within my heart and, in conflict, the ache for all I was not. Thought haunting, I will hold to a steadfast truth: These doubts will not, for one single moment, convince me to give up and give in. I will not surrender to defeat and cease to give you my all. Though daunting, these emotions instill within me the strength to fight harder, to be more for you. To continue the race, even when weary and breath is hard to come by. To persevere, unaware of who is further ahead or behind, as my focus is on you, my Loves, standing in front of me.
As a mother, I feel I bare the heart of many mothers facing these very real and raw emotions. However, if I were to read a letter of apology from my own Mother, it would leave my heart shattered, arms aching to embrace her in the reassurance she deserves. I would be left breathless to learn how she has longed to be more for me when, to me, she was and still is everything. How I would plead for her to hear me, to believe the words of my heart, and allow them to heal her own. To me, there is no one more deserving of my undying gratitude, respect and admiration than the woman who gave me the breath within my lungs and the beat within my heart. And now, as a mother, I can observe her differently. I can see the gleam and the same look of wonder in her eyes as she gazes upon her children, a look, a feeling that has become oh so familiar to me.
I am learning there isn't a gift I could give you more valuable than to genuinely bare all that I am for you to see. I am learning you don't need the “perfect” mother I have made up in my mind – the mother I am not, the mother no woman is. Because you have a mother who, despite every doubt, continues to give without reservation. My Babies, my only hope in this life is you would see that look in my eyes, that look I see in my Mother’s – eyes filled with wonder, amazement, love – and that, even when I fail you, you will see the mother within me I aspire to be for you, the same as I see within my own Mother.
JOURNALIST: Emily Earle