The only problem was I was in a hurry to buy food for fifteen-year-old Emma’s lunch. I find a peculiar joy in making her especially tasty lunches but lately I’ve done mostly peanut butter and jelly. This makes me more than slightly sad.
Yesterday I made her a past favorite, penne with pesto sauce, but it came home only half eaten.
I figured today it would be a BLT minus the T on flatbread.
Naturally I started late and even texting about scheduling a hiking adventure with Michelle didn’t get in my way. “I must make Emma a lunch she will love, I must make Emma a lunch she will love, I must make Emma a lunch she will love.”
My biggest fear in life is failing as a Mother. It is my most important “job”. My children are the best artwork I ever created. I never, ever want to let them down.
I flashed back to sunrise on August 20, 1997. I was in a hospital room overlooking a tumbleweed filled field, watching the ground squirrels play. Emma was less than a day old and was resting on my shoulder. “I will never leave you, Emma. We are in this together.”
Six weeks later I was back at work from eight-to-five and I thought my then work-at-home husband was going to be her caretaker, but the day I went back to work was the day he found a daycare provider for my tiny little baby.
Right then, I felt I had lied to her when she was less than a day old. The lie continued in a variety of ways and it hurt me enormously every time I wasn’t “in it” together with this little one who looked more like me than any of my other children.
She is also my quickest to both frustration and laughter. She is a whirlwind typist, a gifted writer and has such an active social life my head spins. This year alone we have hosted three parties, countless study dates and two teen sleepovers in our home. Emma says her friends love me and love being in our unconventional home.
Nonetheless, I still had the itchy residue from The Lie. It sat there, alertly, waiting to catch me repeating myself. I needed to change the rules. I wrote her a letter.
There is still a sorrow cloud that sometimes forms above my head which rains on my shoulders when I think about the times I have let you down, the times I have not been there for you like I wanted to be there so badly. I felt horrible missing the night time performance of “The Wizard of Oz”, but I did see two day performances and I did see you on television. I know, this isn’t the same as seeing the biggest performance of all. I hated missing the first day of your first period because I was out of town. Mostly I miss the times I spaced out, huddling under depression so I was just not checked in and being the Mommy you needed me to be.
I get such joy seeing the young woman you continue to become.
I cannot promise that I will be with you whenever there is a big event or a surprise event in your life. What I can promise you is I will do my best to support you to the very best of my abilities. Sometimes my best is better than other times, as I am sure you understand now.
I love you so much. Your disappointment may fade, but it is forever tattooed on my memory.
I hope you will forgive me for my failings. I hope I can forgive me for my failings and the times I lied when I didn’t even know I was lying. Perhaps these are the most heinous lines. “I didn’t mean to” doesn’t cut it with me.
I love you,
Emma sent me a text me this morning during her Algebra class which she shouldn’t do. “I forgot there is an assembly today. I need my choir dress, tights and shoes before lunch.”
I may have told an unintended whopper of a lie when I broke that long ago promise I made to the her as a newborn when together we looked at the sunrise, but I strive not to break it anymore. Sometimes this even includes something I abhor: making tedious repeat trips in my car when I would rather be doing my other non-Mommy related life work.
I will forgive the past and continue to do the very best I can for her and with her.
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We believe that who we are is informed by our stories. Here, we want to offer you a space to introduce yourself, and a guide to share your history and make some connections along the way. We’ll be offering daily prompts for two weeks beginning on March 13th.
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