The other night I was rocking my son to sleep and, per usual, I asked my daughters to keep their voices down and play quietly so they wouldn’t wake him.
“NO TALKING,” I reminded them.
They gradually got louder. Real loud. Their high-pitched shrills and giggles became so obnoxious that I screamed at them, frightening and waking the baby. He trembled in my arms and started to weep. The weeping turned to full blown crying. The girls were shocked into silence and the only sound being made was me sincerely apologizing to Jr.
There I was, sitting in the dark, fully submerged in guilt, cradling my son with maternal warmth. I began to think about my daughters and hugging them next…
In my head, I began writing an apology letter to their future selves:
Dear Daughters and Son,
Have you noticed that your mother wrestles with feelings of fear and defeat? You have seen me frantic, sad, and anxious. You must think I am a maniac sometimes…
When I seem to be rooted in mean-ness, please understand that it is not your fault. You haven’t done anything that I can’t live with, relate to, or even forgive. It’s me who forgets to breathe. It’s me who flounders and fails when I’ve been on my feet for fifteen hours. I am good for seven or eight of the hours– slow to anger– and then I start fumbling…
I am a mom, but I am also a woman and a human being who tires out, panics, and gets depressed.
I may be mean at times, but daughters and son, I will always validate you and be available to you for spiritual, emotional or physical connection.
Fourteen months ago, I entered into uncharted territory as a mother of three. I had no idea it would be this hard. That life could become so hurried and that my love for you could get lost in my own emotional needs and self-doubt.
In the event I am setting you up for some form of counseling later in life, which is not a bad thing (counseling), I hope you will remember the tender moments between us. I hope you will remember how close I kept you in public settings. I hope you will remember all the good food and “healthy snacks”. I hope you will remember how I cradled each of you and stroked your hair. I hope you will remember the times I just stared at you and smiled.
I hope you are looking at me and seeing a more joyful, rested woman, with cute hair. I hope you are not creating toxic patterns in your relationships and in your households. I hope you are starting to or have come to know God for yourself. God is real and God is love. Love heals it all, my children.
And everything is going to be okay…more than okay. ❤
Clinnesha is a writer, wife, mom, meta-artist, and social entrepreneur who feels most accountable to southern, black citizen-artists, elders, children, and families. Her work is at the intersection of arts, culture, innovation, and community.