Sunday, May 12, 2013

Affirmation, a Mother's Day Letter to My First Born

My Dear "Little Prince",

            Mother’s Day morning is here, and I reflect today in the rare stillness of early morning; my thoughts turning to you. My first child. Born to me on the edge of 18. I could not stop looking at you. So incredible. So beautiful. So mine.
            I was a natural, even at that age. I know I've told you that before haven't I? I surprised everyone. I just knew what to do somehow, as if guided by something unseen and unknown. A force of pure love. I imagine that is what is called maternal instinct...
            I fumbled through your later years, as I imagine all parents do. We grew up together. I made mistakes that, in my mother's mind, are completely unforgivable. But you have forgiven me before I have even begun to forgive myself. Thank you for that.
            I am writing because I want to share with you one of my fondest memories. I have years upon years of memories stored up in my mind of you and your four siblings...fleeting glimpses of the past, like tiny movies I can play and re-play. And I so agree with  Pavese who once wrote,  “We do not remember days, we remember moments. The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten.”  Isn't it strange how a memory that only lasts just a few seconds, can change a person so...but the richness of the moment stays with us like sweetness on our tongues after desert is long gone.
            It was 2006. You were graduating from high school. Your father and his wife had the “good” seats, while I had to sit in the balcony section for guests... straining to find you among the sea of caps and tassels and gowns. And it was ok. Your father and his wife are the ones who were there in person, and urged you onward and finally got you to that place, a graduating senior, while i lived 3,000 miles and five years away from you.
            You had just received your diploma and I only applauded loudly as requested by the high school staff. You must have known how hard it was for me to stay reserved. I am never one to be demure! I had to quietly swallow the burst of pride that I felt, and tears of joy mixed with regret and longing leaked from the corners of my eyes. You walked by your father and his wife and found your seat and then it happened.
            As I watched in earnest to catch your eye, you turned around in your seat, searching the balcony crowd for my face.  My face. We made eye contact. You raised your diploma in the air and smiled at me. I waved and smiled back.
            It was two seconds. The most life affirming two seconds of my entire life.

            To be loved by you, I find such grace.
            There are the broken places inside of me that still ache for a second chance to get some things right, though I know it isn’t possible. And I know, as a parent, all parents have those tender, achey places.
            On this Mother’s Day, I want to thank you for your love. For loving me despite all of my faults. For forgiving the seemingly unforgivable. Imaginative, dynamic, beautiful child of mine;  thank you, for your unlimited love and grace.

                                                                                        Love Forever,

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