Dear JRS,

Jessica and I

It’s funny, Sweets, putting you to bed tonight you looked so old. Grown. Your face is getting longer and your baby features have long since passed. You’re looking like a lady and I can see into the future of what your reflection might be.

Child, you are stunning.

I was talking about being your mom today – how being a mom to a girl is really very hard. In a wonderful, stretch your own boundaries, learn about yourself, kind of way. It’s like raising myself all over again, only this time I get to teach me (really, you) all those emotional lessons I didn’t learn the first time around.

Not because they weren’t available – although that’s the case in point at times, I’m sure – but because I wasn’t listening. Didn’t “need the lesson” at the time or thought I could do it better my own way.

Oh, how you challenge me in the same way. How I hope we’re challenging each other.

I’ve been spending more and more time alone with thoughts about our relationship. Hoping and praying that my heart would break just a little more for you. That I wouldn’t right off your birth order or chalk up your out-cries to things I could no longer help or change. It’s true, I’ve had to wrestle with these thoughts often, and even now I’m ashamed of it. I’m starting to wrestle with the same feelings of inadequacy with your brother as well. So, please, know that it is not you I can’t figure out – it’s me.

Only, I have it all figured out already. I know exactly where my faults hold me back. I know why and how and when and still I stumble to walk past them, over them, to walk without them holding me down.

But it’s working. The time alone to reflect, the praying. Putting you to bed tonight was, once again, magical. Looking into your greeny-blue eyes and seeing them sparkle because it’s snowing. Watching your hair curl around your ear, catching you watching me out of the corner of your eye instead of looking at the photos on the page … it’s an awakening I’ve been longing for.

A renewal.

So just in case you find yourself having this very conversation with a friend some day about being your own kind of mother, I want you to know that I felt it too. Defeated. Challenged. Wrong. Crazy! I’ve felt it all. Alone. Like I made huge mistakes. I’ve wanted to give up, walk away and then you grab the back of my pants or run and give me a hug or come home with your “I’m thankful for … MOM” art work and I crumble at your will.

I am all yours. Always will be. Forever.

God, I love you.

And you’re pretty on the outside, too.


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