this was initially a guest post submission for a blog i follow... i initially thought it didn't make the cut, but i was wrong (thanks Gina!) ... look for it on The Feminist Breeder this Thursday, April 14.
For Donna Ezri:
Itʼs a warm spring day, the Kansas wind nearly knocked me over this morning while I was sliding you into the Moby wrap to go shopping. You are four months and ﬁve days old and your father and I are besotted with you.
Whenever you read this, I hope that you know that to your core. My prayer, with every breath as we sit and nurse in the glow of lamplight or as you lay on the ﬂoor rolling and squealing with delight and discovery, is that you will always know you are loved and worthy of it.
A few days ago I decided to write this letter for you. Itʼs gone through many drafts and stops and starts since then. There is so much, a universe I want to guide you through, so much I want to make sure you know. When I see the light and joy behind your eyes, and (already!) the anger and determination there too, I wonder how I am ever going to keep up with you and everything you need.
I have no idea what might transpire between the time that I look at you now and when you read this letter. I do know myself, and your dad, and what we are determined to give you... The things we want to teach you are really detailed and really nebulous... Love and understanding of the world around you, and ability to put yourself in the place of others and be willing to do whatever you can to help them... Passion for doing what is right, and determination to stand by your beliefs and be able to explain them without alienating others but opening their minds and hopefully opening your own.
When I think of the you that will read this letter, I see a bright and determined redheaded beauty, maybe 20 years old - maybe 16... and I think of myself at those ages. Your grandparents were born to be parents. They raised me to be interested in the world around me and to become an adult ready to interact with that world fully. I want the same for you. But I know that in the craziness of being a family, and raising you, and making sure you know how to be that person you are becoming, I may not
communicate everything I hope for you.
The world around us is full of beautiful things and difﬁcult things, and all of it is going to shape you and change you and challenge you into being an amazing young woman. I canʼt wait to know you as that person. Never think that I donʼt want to listen to what youʼre thinking and feeling. I canʼt think of anything more important than knowing my family and what is in their hearts. You and your father are the blessing I never thought I would have.
You are at the threshold of life, and there is so much in front of you. If you donʼt realize or know it yet, I am behind you, I want you to excel in whatever you want to do and whatever it is you are passionate about. There may be times, I know there will be, when I will tell you truthfully what I think about things you do or say, but even if it is critical it does not change how much I care about you and the person you are. In fact, I tell you honestly what I think because I love you.
If I could tell you one thing that helped me most in the ﬁrst ten years of my “adult life”, before you, it would be this:
The only person you can truly change is yourself.
I know, itʼs pretty straight forward, seemingly obvious... and, after living with me for 16 to 20 years, I am certain youʼve heard it a few times. There are some big reasons why this phrase is important to me.
The only person you really have complete “control” over is yourself, and it should be the only person you control... and that alone is a difﬁcult job at times! Changing yourself is something you ought to do for yourself ﬁrst, and most of the time only yourself. Donʼt let anyone tell you that you are unworthy or make you feel as if you cannot do what you know you can do.
There will be people in your life that you will fall for, that you will love or admire, that you will want to impress for reasons good and bad... they are the people you want to change for, and at times they are the people you think you can change. I have the privilege right now to help shape you and how you see the world, but I would never want to try and change your (already!) vibrant and sweet determined nature for the world. No matter how much you love another person and desperately desire them to change, the most you can ever do is love them and let them know you want to help. You can pray, you can be the best inﬂuence you can be, but they must make the choice to change if they need to.
And thatʼs the other thing that I have the blessing of seeing in you: the choices you make, good and bad, that will make you. You will see me make choices too, I canʼt guarantee that they will always be best, but I can promise with all my heart that the choices I make have been and will be with your contentment and happiness in mind.
Right now, the choices I see you make are whether to roll over or stay put, to reach for my coffee mug or to nurse or play... soon theyʼll get bigger and bigger. No matter how big or small, I am your mother and I will always be here cheering you on a praying the best into your life.
I love you.
Thank you for making me your mom.