Dear Beautiful Girl –
There was a time, a long time, before you, when I belonged entirely to myself. Sometimes I sit and remember that girl – the careless way she traveled through the world, the ease with which she made plans and changed them, her fearless daring heart that jumped and risked and broke and stacked up sleepless nights like they were nothing but fuel for her mischievous fire. Some days I miss her terribly, miss her like a limb or a purpose or home. Some days I envy her freedom and her callousness and her vanity. Some days I sit for long minutes and simply wonder where on earth she has gone.
You are the sort of thing that bends time, my beautiful, precious you. Even as I remember the girl who was before you, I can’t wrap my heart around a time when you weren’t with me, as though you were something always carried, somewhere in my girlhood and my singleness and our early marriage, something always waiting to come and break and mend everything all at once. I remember the velvet, other-worldly softness of your newborn body, your wide open eyes that came firm with the knowing that now there would be only after you, that from now on everything I am would be tied to the simple truth that you are.
You are. You are, and because you are, I will be something other than the girl I was. My fate, from the moment of your birth and with all of my heart, is tied to the fact of you. It’s a beautiful truth – one that heals, and bends, and breaks, and challenges, one that I have raged against and clung to and been grateful for with a depth I couldn’t imagine before you. You are, and because you are, I am altered. You are, and because you are, I am yours.
I am learning to make space for the pieces of the girl that I was. I am learning to introduce her to you, to our life here, to let you grab onto her ambitions and her selfishness and her gorgeous careless soul with your perfect little fingers that leave your perfectly indelible mark. Because it’s us from here on out – because the girl I was and the girl I am because of you and your sweet smile are the puzzle pieces that make up your mother, and we, all of us, belong to each other.
I will give you all of her stories, all of mine, and we will write ours. I will give you the most beautiful things that I know, I will love you with all the ferocity I can muster, and I will be your mother. I have been her all along.
It is my absolute privilege to have these words joined with the words of dozens of other raw and gorgeous mamas in Mama, Bare – a book curated by my sweet friend Kristen Hedges. These stories belong to all of us, and I am deeply proud to be a voice in this collection. Download the free ebook at Kristen’s website, and grab a paperback copy on Amazon for the newest, loveliest, fragile mighty mamas in your life.