A Mother’s Day Letter to Myself

Dear Mama C,

This year, Mother’s Day marks the start of a new journey into motherhood. One you had never planned on taking, and one that is more than a little scary. I don’t need to tell you that you are not alone. Your own mother and father are in your corner, your brother is your greatest ally, and you have an army of superwomen (and the men who love them) who are there for anything you might need.

It’s going to be hard for a while. Your heart will need time to heal before you can feel your power again. You don’t have to be perfect. Those beautiful children seem to know how difficult this is, and they will understand your tears, and your exhaustion. They love you, and they will see your love for them shine through this (brief) period of darkness.

Mother's Day

You’ve brought so much beauty and fire to the lives of these three young souls. You haven’t been perfect, but they see how dedicated you are to growing, to learning how to be the very best parent you can be. If there’s a silver lining in any of this, it’s a chance to forge your own unique path with your children. Nobody else will be inserting themselves as you problem solve. Your kids will see you, and they will see you shine above all else.

I know you will handle this with grace. I know you’ll be the kind of mother that you wish to be. I know your kids will remark on how steady and capable you are. (Look how steady and capable you have been through all of this!) I know you’ll teach your daughters (and son) what it means to be a strong and truly independent woman who can take care of herself and still remain open to the possibilities the world has on offer.

Mother's Day

Remember how you used to fantasize about being a lone wolf, answering only to her pups? Well, the Universe works in funny ways. What will you do with this new reality? It’s time to trade in yoga pants for vintage slips and soft kimonos. This is your new stay-at-home-uniform. Don’t be tragic, be fabulous.

Sometimes brokenhearted lovers are left with nothing but memories and dreams that will never come into fruition. You get three glorious examples of how the love you’ve poured into the last nine years was absolutely worthwhile. Stay in that feeling, let the rest slide away.

You can do this. You were meant to do this, in exactly this way. It’s time to embrace this new path and move ahead in love and wisdom.

But don’t get out of bed until you absolutely have to today. You’ve earned it.

Stranger

The morning we’d planned to talk to the kids, you stood in the doorway of our bedroom, staring at me.

Your beautiful face, the one I’ve held in these hands and kissed a thousand times, was the face of a stranger.

Tears streaming down your cheeks, you looked so fragile in your sorrow. What was in that look? Regret? Shame? Were you sorry that you’d fallen out of love with me? Sorry that we now had to tell our children? Were you worried that letting me go was a mistake?

I’m not asking you to reconsider. I’ve laid my heart and soul on the table, and your response was to tell me to gather up the pieces of myself, put them back together, and carry on alone.

And I think, perhaps, that you did me a favor in this final, absolute rejection of me. I pored through the pages of an old diary where I’d scribbled all my frustrations and fear. The same theme played out in a steady loop; I don’t feel safe, I don’t feel like I can trust, I don’t feel like you want me to belong here. The same theme has been repeated so many times that now we’ve brought it to life, and there’s no going back to try to change this pattern. For so long, I thought those scary feelings were a product of my own damage. Maybe that’s true, in part, but those black thoughts were also a kind of prophecy.

I am my own safety. I belong to me. I know and trust my heart, my good intentions. I know what my love looks and feels like when it comes from a place of security and trust. That love will blossom now, fed by the goodness of my own soul, my children, and the people who are grateful for my love, however imperfect it may be.

For your tears, I am sorry. I would have dried each and every one. Even now, in this place of finality, my impulse is to reach for you. But instead I must hold my own hand and walk myself out this door and into my new life.