As you enter your high school years I have such mixed emotions. I love the woman you are becoming: compassionate, talented, intelligent, and beautiful. I love that we are able to laugh, talk, and spend “real” time together. I love that you still confide in me (as you see fit). I love our inside jokes, our silly moments, and our unspoken bond. There are still times, however, that I miss my spunky little girl:
You have had a mind of your own since the day you were born. I know that there are many parents out there who will say the same thing, but I can tell you with all certainty that no one is quite like you.
I will never forget your first night in this world. Your blood curdling screams brought the nurses running. They thought that this first time mother didn’t know how to console a newborn. They soon discovered, however, that you were not hot, cold, hungry, tired, wet or needy. You were just Kayla. You expected perfection and would settle for nothing less. I pray that you never let go of that instinct.
As a young mother I made (and continue to make) mistakes. I expect too much or accept too little. I demand instead of request. I talk when I should listen. I punish when I should protect. I undermind when I should understand.
All I can tell you is that my journey is parallel to yours. Everything I do comes from my fierce, unshakable, inexplicable, unconditional love for you. Every decision I make originates from my desire to protect you from all of the heartache I experienced. Every lecture you hear was written on one of the thousand tears I shed.
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago I was you. I was young, innocent, unstoppable, and invincible. The world was my oyster and all I needed to do was pluck the pearl when I was ready. I know you don’t believe me but I have pictures to prove it.
Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I am shocked at what I see. In my mind I am still the girl in the photographs. When did I become the responsible mother of 2 with crow’s feet, laugh lines, and thunder thighs? When did I become someone who worries about curfews and carpools instead of clothing and cliques?
I think it was a gradual progression. I think that with every day that you grew I was forced to grow along with you. I think that just as I have shaped who you are, you have shaped who I am. I think that you have taught me more about myself than I could have ever learned on my own.
Somewhere along the way you changed from a chubby cheeked, curly haired, feisty little girl into a almond eyed, confident, influential young woman.
As hard as I try, I know that I will never be able to protect you from all of the mistakes I made and all of the pain you will feel. I need to accept that this is your journey, not mine. I need to step back and allow you to experience the consequence of your choices…both good and bad. I need to trust that I instilled in you the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. But most of all, I need to hope that no matter what happens you know that you can come to me and trust that I will guide you, understand you, and love you.
If I could tell you only one thing it would be this:
No matter what you think, say, want or do I will always love you. Nothing could ever erase my love for you.