To my dearest children,
I woke up this morning with a bad-mood monkey clinging to my back. I don’t know what brought it on, or where it came from, but it was there; strong and strident.
It was one of those mornings when you tested me at any chance you could get. You screamed at the top of your lungs in the wee hours of morning- a time when there should be no voices at all. One of those mornings when, the night before I had thought the kitchen was left clean, but once rising I found dirt and grime in every corner I glanced towards. It was one of those mornings when failure seemed to encompass every morsel of sanity I had left. There has been many a time when this word “failure” has surfaced in my mind, and I wonder if it is truly possible to fail as a mother. Like there is some imaginary scorekeeper, tracking the amount of times I yell or scream or cry out at you, and tallying up the effects it has in these ill-at-ease moments. But as I write this, and my mind wonders the long and lengthy road of parenthood, I feel a duality pulling me. Oh how I wish, I could be that model mother for you. The one whom has the good wits about her to coolly place you in a time-out and say the words she needs to say, in a calm yet stern-filled voice. The one who doesn’t feel the vexing burn of annoyance when she hears the words ‘Mama, I’m hungry’ every five seconds, because you refuse to eat a sustainable amount of food at one time. The mother who can find the time to clean the house spotless, care for the babes, do the extra-curricular, and stumble upon time for herself as well. Oh how I wish I could be her.Alas, I am not that woman. I get mad. I cry in public because I am frustrated. I am the woman who bribes you openly. Filling your minds with thoughts of grandeur in chocolate bars, just to get you out of the shop without an outburst guiding our way. I say words to you like, “YOU CAN WAIT!” When you ask for a treat. And “I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU TWO!” When your outlandish antics get to be too much. I am the woman who knows these things are the ‘wrong’ things to do, according to the books and the experts; however, I am still the woman who does them.
But I am also the woman who loves you without end. I am the woman that would give her life for you, without a moment’s thought. The one person in this world to have felt your stirrings of life within her. I am the one who will remember this feeling until the end of her days. So this morning, as I write you this open letter, I want to tell you that I love you. Despite our times of struggle and angst, I love you.
I will love you forever.
I will still love you when I yell. I will love you when I am on the verge of tears and tired from the day. I will love you when I am dragging my sleepy body to the coffee pot in the wee hours of the morning.
I will love you when you poop your pants, and when you spill (pour) your juice all over the keyboard. When you tell me you hate me; I will love you. I will love your smile, your laugh, your ability to allow me to do both of these things in the toughest of times. I will always love your knack to learn, and advance, you have already came so far so quickly.
I will love you when you are teenagers, and oh so embarrassed of these words. I will say it anyways, partly to mortify you, but mostly to enforce the fact. As each day passes I feel like I know you a little better, and this only makes me love you more. I cannot promise you that there will be no more, ‘bad mood monkeys’, I think we both know that would be a lie.
But what I can promise is this; that no matter what kind of a frame of mind I reside in, you can be assured that I will love you. And as I read you this letter, I realize most of it flies high over your head, but there is one part that sticks out to you. You cling around my neck and accompanied with sloppy kisses, you tell me that you love me too. My dearest children, this morning I woke up and thought I had failed you in some small way. But today, you have shown me that you know, I mean really know, about the love I have for you.
And that is the best kind of success I could have ever asked for.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.