To my children:
When you were born, so was I. Never had I been a mother of a daughter, then a mother of a son, and then a mother of three. In every moment since you’ve been here, I’ve been learning. Life sort of takes on a gravity that surpasses what exists in our atmosphere. Getting to know each of you has me studying, every day, my approach to the person you are, and who you are meant to become. My actions ceased being my own; instead they are tethered to you, too.
I am aware, with the thought patterns I allow, the behaviors I demonstrate, and the words I speak, I am building a file folder of records with you. From the time it takes for me to respond to your cries, to the time I spent holding your hand, to the eye contact and leaning in to show you I’m listening, your brain is wiring with codes that inform what love looks like, what caretaking is, and what restoration means.
I am, first, human. This makes me imperfect and coded with sometimes damaged motherboards, shrouded in darkness and cobwebs, forgotten until triggered. You, my precious children, without intention, often hold a mirror up and reveal the truth to me. In order to parent you in the way I hope to, I must dust off the control systems and troubleshoot, rewire, and sometimes disconnect the circuitry that for so long held me together. Our brains, you see, are only ever trying to protect us. And we can thank them for that, but we might find sometimes that old methods are no longer needed in the same way. It is always a good time to grow.
Try as I might, I won’t teach you all the things I believe you should know. I won’t even have the awareness to recognize and prepare some lessons you’ll require. Life and its experiences will be greater teachers than I could ever aspire to be. They say write what you know. Well the older I get, the less I believe I know. The expanse of knowledge widens its stretch out in front of me, and I feel smaller and smaller, in an existential way. The world changes so fast, and I often feel left behind, almost suspended in a generation long before I was even born.
Human beings are social creatures, intended to live life among community. We’ve built constructs and technology that have allowed us to isolate, effectively providing our basic needs without direct contact with one another. But raising you shows me every day how vital direct contact still is. If I am on the phone when I pick you up from school, your face doesn’t hide the disappointment you feel from my divided attention. At bedtime, you have routines and expectations you hold fast to, and you depend on me to play my part. You crave real time engagement, attention, and active listening. As you should.
Sometimes I wonder what my being here, at home, is doing to guide you. How am I preparing you for the world you’ll go out into, if I myself am not *really* in it? The answer to this, I think, lies in the feeling created for you at home, by me. I believe it is vital to learn simple tasks such as making your bed daily and doing your laundry. My work, just like so many others out in the world, demonstrates foundation, commitment, creativity, and diligence. From having a cozy spot of your own to feel safe and peaceful in, to being outside playing and smelling the aroma of whatever I’ve got in the oven or on the stove, you will always know this home is your haven, whenever you need it to be.
Being here, at home, as a homemaker and mother, I take very seriously building not just a foundation for all three of you, but a springboard from which you feel confident to leap from. I hope because you’ll have a secure place from which you go into the world that you will remain sturdy as you share the strength and power of who you continue to become.
As your mom, I will keep unpacking baggage that isn’t yours to carry, do my best to support each of you in the most basic and intricate ways, explore recipes that nourish both your soul and your stomachs, create traditions that make ordinary moments feel like magic, housekeep in a manner that welcomes and brings comfort for all who enter, and commit myself to writing down my eyewitness account to your childhood stories in the journals I keep that will someday belong to you.
I love you, sweet three, more than I could have ever imagined loving anything or anyone. This life is expansive, with endless options that threaten decision fatigue, but hold tightly to the whispers from your souls and you won’t be led astray. Whatever you commit yourself wholly to, with alignment to your integrity, will be a great offering to the world. Thank you for the invigorating and ongoing education you provide me, by simply being my children.
With expansive love,