To my beautiful adult babies,
Once upon a time I held you deep inside me. I cradled you and kept you safe. I loved you from the second I knew you were. That hasn’t changed one bit. I still hold you deep inside my heart, cradled and safe in my love.
I didn’t always do everything right as you grew up, but I tried, and I’m glad. I always did the best I knew how to at the time. I wanted to do my best for you. You brought out the best in me.
I gave you everything, all of me, especially when you were little. I was always there. I rarely let you cry because I was right there for you. Every moment that you looked for me, I was there. I wasn’t anything for myself, I was only your mother. I spent every moment doing all I could to help you see how loved, wanted, cared for, and cherished you were.
But because there wasn’t any part of me that was just for me, I allowed abuse to grow. I turned a blind eye, justified, and felt I had to lie in the bed I’d made. Because I didn’t nourish me, I didn’t know who I was or how to be, or how to stand up for myself or you. Because I had become so dependent, because I didn’t believe in myself, I stayed longer than I should have. Once I saw how far it had gone, how much it was becoming part of how you saw the world, I knew I had to stop it. For your sake, I found a way to stand up. Because I love you, I looked for a way to discover me.
I ended a heartless place so that you could have two places that could love you, instead of one that sent the message that abuse was ok. I love you, so I fought for you. I can only account for my place, and for my place, I gave you all I had to give; discovering and maintaining only the smallest part of me, for me. Thankfully, you have also received love from your fathers home.
I gave you everything I could. I fought for what I feel were injustices toward you. I fought for continuity, for safety, for fairness. I held you when you felt the pains that came from the unfairness and purposeful deprivation meant to punish me through you. I tried to support you and let you feel the freedom to be yourself that I had never felt. I cried for and with you as the abuses changed but continued. And I started to search for myself.
I should never have given up all of me. It made me blind to the beginnings, the place where I could have stopped the abuses before they affected you all so much. I should have finished school no matter what I was told back then. I should have gone to College even when you were all little. I should have not made you so dependent on my being there for everything, instead of helping you know you can stand on your own feet, feeling that you could trust yourself. I should have maintained enough self that I could have stood up for you when you were little, and stood up for myself from the beginning.
Not everything was bad. I am grateful for all the love and good that has happened in both homes. I am grateful that much of the abuse has abated and that you feel loved by both your parents. I am grateful that you have multiple places you can feel cared for, wanted, and safe. I am grateful for the many examples you’ve been given over your lives of the good in people. You have strong characters in your life to draw example from. It is ok to see the bad, walk away from the bad, and still love the person. Often the reason I hurt so much is because the pain was being sent from someone I cared about, someone you cared about. But that doesn’t take away from the good. You have been given much good along with the abuse. One does not negate the other. Appreciate the good, always.
Learn from my mistakes. When you go into your future, your relationships, maintain YOU. Remember who you are without anyone else, who you are all by yourself. Be ok by yourself. Determine the things that are important to you, and don’t compromise them for your partner. Get your education, get experience that will help you maintain you. Those two things, education and experience, are the only things no one can ever take from you, without killing you. Don’t make anyone dependent on you and don’t be dependent on anyone else. Make sure that you can survive without anyone’s help.
Build yourself up so that you can be a good person, friend, partner, and parent. Don’t give up who you are to be in a relationship, add to who you are, and be the kind of partner that adds to who they are. Don’t accept manipulation, coercion, degradation, belittling, threats, or any form of abuse from anyone, but especially not from the people you love. Know who you are-so you are not easily swayed by others. Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable. Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with others.
And also learn from the things I did right. Let everyone be who they are. Support those you love. Fight for those you love. Maintain boundaries for yourself and for others. Set yourself routines and goals. Get your education and go see the world. Learn from your mistakes instead of lashing yourself over them. Recognize your strengths AND your weaknesses. Listen to people, watch people, and learn from everyone around you. Try your very best to put aside your ego and think what it must be like in their shoes, think from their perspective. Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable. Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with others. (yes, these two are both things I did wrong and things I did right)
Recognize and stay away from abuse and abusive people. Don’t be an abusive person. Reflect on yourself and see where you can change things. It’s not only ok, it’s really important to reinvent yourself as you mature. Look for the good in people, it’s usually there. Give a few chances, but not so many that it becomes acceptable. Know how to walk away with dignity. Stand up for what you believe in. Know how to step in with full intention and love.
And, learn from others. Learn from those you love, those you like, and those you don’t like. Sometimes we don’t like something in someone else because we’re hiding that same thing from ourselves. Take a look; see if that’s the case before making a rash decision. Understand that people will hardly ever see the real you because they are living their own lives, and that’s ok. First impressions are rarely real and other people’s opinions are only their own. Get to know someone before making any decisions about them. Become friends with everyone. Sit down and have real discussions with people. Watch others for the sake of learning, not comparing and judging.
You are all adults now and the transition is complete. Who you continue to become, how you choose to treat yourself and others is on you. You have good and bad influences from everyone in your life so far. You get to choose what influences to keep or to let go. Letting go of a certain trait or way of doing things is not letting go of the person that demonstrated it. I hope there are things that you choose not to follow my steps in, because I know there are better ways now too. I hope you see things that you do choose to follow my lead in.
Life as an adult isn’t always easy, in fact, quite possibly, it is rarely easy. We’re here to learn, we’re here to become the best we can be. So don’t give up. You’re better than that; you’re worth more than that.
Being a mom isn’t easy. I’ve cried and felt like I was ripping apart over your lives at times. I don’t see that changing, I care as deeply as any mother can. I’m not the mother of children anymore, I’m the mother of adults. It’s a weird new universe we exist in now, and I’m excited for what it can bring. As we all go about living our adult lives, creating our own spaces and ways of being, the most important part of our relationship will be communication.
I’m grateful for the wonderful communication we’ve had most of your lives. I think we’ve been luckier than most in that department. It will be even more important now, so make sure you do your part. We are all each other’s support system, don’t be the weak link in the system. Let’s stay lucky.
Every day I am grateful that I am your mom. I was blessed with three wonderful souls to care for. My love for you is how I have finally come to find and love me. I am who I am because of each of you. And I maintain who I am so that you can have a better example than I gave before.
Go be the best you can be. Draw the best from all your resources, let go of the things that harm you and others. I am proud of the people you are and excited to see who you continue to become.
I love you,