Child of mine.
Come close to me.
Sit here, and take my hand.
I have so many things I want to tell you.
Too often, the things I want to say get caught in the bottom of my throat
when I am driving to basketball practice,
and buying oatmeal,
and folding towels.
My time with you is so very short,
even on the days it feels never-ending long.
I see this now.
I see this now that my toddlers have sprung into teenagers.
I see it now that I am researching driver’s ed,
and watching boys become tall men.
One single minute ago you were a baby.
This is the truth.
The problem is, the things I Iong to say
are often lost amidst the business of life.
Lost in the middle of all the work is takes to move a family
through another day, week, month.
Towels, breakfast, basketball.
Reading, math facts, field trips, snacks.
Dinner, arguments, showers, bed.
Doctor’s appointments, paperwork, permission slips.
My child, I must be honest.
There are days I feel like I am drowning
and white noise.
I have no privacy.
I have no space.
I cannot breathe because it feels too intense.
Still, there are things I want to say.
But I don’t. Because of the business-of-life stuff.
What I want to say is, please remember.
Remember that in the moments I yelled,
I loved you still.
Still, I loved you.
I love you.
I want to remind you that on your baddest of days,
when the buzzer goes off before the basket,
or the line for ice cream is too long.
When our family argues,
and there are great big tears.
When the rain won’t stop
and the sun won’t shine.
Remember our walks on the beach,
and the seashells in your hand.
Remember the way we curled up on the deep red couch
as the thunder rolled and the lightning burned.
The secret stories we told,
a warm dog nestled beside us.
Remember that even when I was busy
folding, shopping, cooking, driving,
I never lost sight of you, even once.
You never left my mind.
Time is spinning faster and faster—
an hourglass full of slippery sand.
I know there are hard days ahead of you.
Days when you will make a wrong turn.
A bad decision.
You will lose your judgment,
and find it again.
Maybe you won’t get the job.
Or the promotion.
Or the house.
Miscarriages, divorce, traffic tickets.
Colicky babies, loud arguments, tax bills.
In the hardest moments, I can only tell you three things.
I will write for you all the words I cannot say.
The things that are lodged in my heart.
Make your bed in the morning. It’s a good way to start the day.
Sing out loud to your favorite song, even if you don’t know all the words.
Don’t be afraid to say no.
Eat when you’re hungry.
Stop when you are full.
Dream big, delicious dreams for yourself.
Then figure out exactly how to make them come true.
Think critically about the world around you.
Hold the door for others.
And listen for the answer.
And no matter what.
On dark, rainy days,
and bright, sunny days.
Days when you are homesick and sad,
or happy and triumphant.
Days when the mistakes feel so big,
and you are hopeless, and alone.
Mama loves you.