An Open Letter To My Son

Today I failed you.

My fuse was too short, my patience too thin, and my peace? No where to be found. You didn’t even do anything out of the ordinary. You were fussy, as babies often are. I’m still not sure if you are teething, having tummy troubles, or just felt cranky today.. and I guess I’ll never know. Regardless, I couldn’t comfort you. You didn’t think i was funny, weren’t content in my arms, and weren’t deterred by my soothing words. It’s like we were on different wave lengths today, and I got irritated.

For a split second, while allowing myself to fall into the depths of self pity, I actually thought “I’m not supposed to be his mom. He deserves better.” And that is true. You deserve better than the Me you got today. And maybe I get so upset when I can’t comfort you, because I feel the intensity of my own longing to raise you well. To tend to your every need, to keep you happy and healthy always, and to grow you up in the way you should go. Maybe I feel the pressure of being the perfect balance between a helicopter mom and one who isn’t even holding the reigns. Because if I’m honest, Do you know what keeps me up at night? The elephant sitting on my chest?

I’m terrified that I am not the mother that you need.

Call it human insecurity, or a trait of a control freak…you would probably be correct either way. It’s just, at my very core, I want the world for you. I want to create the perfect life for you; and, when I inevitably (and not surprisingly) cannot deliver… I jump ship. Suddenly convinced that I must not be good enough at all. Your mother is dramatic, this should come as no surprise. (Ask your father.)

I spent the greater part of today throwing myself a pity party for one. Literally wallowing in feelings of failure. In fact, it wasn’t until just now, alone with my thoughts, that something new occurred to me. Becoming a mother didn’t change who I was. It added to who I already am. Some part of me expected to be a totally new creation when I donned the “mom” title. As if you entering the world meant I would suddenly become an adult. Mature and void of the selfish, insecure being that I once was. Not true. I still feel like I’m 18 years old sometimes, and it will always feel surreal to me that you are my child. Moms are old, right? Not so. Moms, I’ve come to learn, are extensions of teenagers… just with less defined abs (are they even in there at all anymore?), and longer shorts. I’m not some wise superior, I’m just a little girl, that suddenly found herself all grown up.

I guess what I’m getting at, is that I fell short today. And that will happen again. I am an imperfect being, raised in an imperfect world, trying my damndest to leave it better than how I found it.

So Gatlin, don’t look at me for perfection. In fact, don’t look up to me at all. If anything, I am a living, breathing sign…pointing to a Savior. One who ALWAYS gets it right. One who pours grace on your Mama every day, and one who chose her, and equipped her, to raise you. Jesus didn’t make a mistake trusting me with you. He knew I would lose my cool one too many times, say the wrong things, and come unglued every so often. He also knew I would fight to get it right, that I would get up every morning with a renewed spirit and overflowing love just for you. Today I sucked Gatlin, but tomorrow I won’t. Yes, I may lose a few battles, but the war has already been won. You are a child of the Most High. And you are loved, by Him and I. (And dad, too.)

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