Dear Firstborn, Life Hasn’t Been Fair to You and I’m Sorry
You’ve known me all your life. But I didn’t know you all of mine.
Before you, I was a dancer, a fighter, a try-this-and-that-outer, a laugh-out-louder, a sit-home-and-reader, a dark poetry writer, a gummy bear eater… and the list goes on. It was so fluid and natural and in my control.
Then came you. This little being, a sprout, a gift. A small defenseless thing I had been growing for nine months but seemed to have dropped from the sky and given to me. To me. And my world became you.
That moment I held you in my arms, everything changed. You didn’t erase who I was but – from one minute to the next – you made me another… you made me a mother… a person I had never been before, a divide in time between who I was and who I would become.
That was a turning point, my pivotal moment. But there was a whole process to follow. You see, you didn’t just make me a mother… you also made me a better mother.
I was the parent yes, but you were my teacher. I learned from you and through you. I followed you. You lead the way, paved the path, faced the milestones, and decided which direction we would take. You doled out challenges and tested my mettle. It was always something new. Unknown. No precedent to guide me, there was a lot of trial and error….
And sadly, you got the errors… I held you to a higher standard. I “helped” a little too much. I doted, documented, corrected – everything from your first words to how you shaped your letters while your younger sibling got away with murder.
You got more responsibilities, less childhood… double-checked work, advice on how to improve, and nit-picked efforts. I watched as you beat yourself up, always a perfectionist… always looking to please, be good, get things right. While your younger sibling played the free spirit… you cared a little too much.
And it’s all because I cared a little too much. I tried a little too hard. I gave you too much of… well, me. I was too close, too present, too involved, too vocal. I could see that I should step back and give you the space to stretch your own wings but I couldn’t get enough of… well, you.
It’s no excuse. But it is a dilemma. I was harder on you because I was harder on myself. For you, I kept trying to get it all right, failing miserably the harder I tried.
Through it all, you held my hand and you led the way. You taught me to stretch my patience so that there would be more for everyone. You showed me to love fearlessly, generously, and without stress. You made it clear that a lack of qualification or years of experience doesn’t always matter… that if you fall, you laugh, you get up... and try again. You showed me courage for every new milestone, how to enjoy the mess, when to take baby steps... and when giant leaps are in order.
You reminded me that every day is a fresh start... not to take everything so seriously all the time, after all if the floor is hot lava, you can just jump from pillow to pillow. There is a solution. You taught me to look for rainbows, dance in the rain, and notice the little things. You wore down my rough edges and you made me a better mother.
To forgive easily... you modeled that daily. I’m working on forgiving myself for not being perfect. I can only hope you will forgive me too.
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