Dear Beautiful Girl - Mother, Imperfect

Dear Beautiful Girl –

I rarely carry you these days.

You run, and climb, and walk, and jump – you are a whirlwind and a force and so much your own person. But I feel, I carry, the weight of you, especially lately. The weight of your wide open eyes, our long, weary winter days, our early mornings and your beautiful, stubborn independent resistance. The weight of the lessons you’ve yet to learn, the bruises that will rise and fade and rise again on your knees, the many times your heart will break and mend, the promise to teach you what is true, what is good, what is right, what is home.

The most precious burden, my most cherished responsibility, the joy and the gratitude – and still there are days I am simply lost for what to give to you. Days that feel heaviest. Days where the weight of being your world is as much as I can carry. Days when I need to ask someone else to carry me.

Days when I am desperately carving space for the wandering girl inside me who is always trying to conquer the biggest questions and solve the hardest truths.

I keep dreaming about deserts – all that wild endless space, and the silence, and the time. All that open air and dry heat to sweat and solve and feel out all the aching places, all the tired muscles, all the lost pieces and mended holes. How to be the mother you deserve when my soul craves solitude? How to hold you when I am tired of being touched? How to be your solid place to land when the ground all around me is shaking?

Do any of us ever stop asking these questions?

Deconstruction is beauty that feels like a wound. It’s a hopeful autopsy – perhaps, if we tear away this bluing flesh and rusting bone, cut sharply the most tender places, we can uncover the deep-beating heart of this thing. Deconstruction is the true-trusted voices calling you back from the edge “Stop! It’s too close and too far and you’ll fall” and the newborn, trembling courage to call back “I love you, I feel it, I know, how I know – but this canyon and I have our business to finish, and I need to see all the way down to its floor. I need to toe up to the edge and let the wind hold me. I need to trust whomever it was who promised to carry us home.”

It’s a long look into the face in a clear mirror, asking her what remains if you simply aren’t the girl you thought you would be.

To be your mother, as I dissect and unwind and unpack and disassemble the building blocks upon which I have created a space for us, as I look into the eyes of the truest things. To be your mother, as I am undone and redoing. To be your mother, as I am rebuilding her, rewriting her, exploring her edges, exploring the space in between. To be your mother, imperfect. To be your mother, wide open.

I am weary of being right. I am weary of being sure.

What remains if I am simply not the mother I thought I would be?

Beautiful, magical, wonderful girl – I love you, I love you, I love you so.

Here is what I know:

Grace is a door left swinging, the mutinous value pressed into unworthy spaces, the endless echoing wonder of your laugh. Grace is the given, the holy, the only remaining. Grace is the eyes that see and the ears that hear, the deep inner knowing, the heartbeat still drumming here under, here always, here now. Grace is the hand the grasps and the heart that opens, the freedom to hold loosely, the rush of the wind and the sense of belonging. Grace is you and I learning, and holding, and making each other. Grace is the unmovable root of the thing, and whoever God is and wherever we’re going, grace is enough.   Grace is most certainly, always enough.

I will give you your mother, imperfect, to hold, as I hold you.

We will falter, and laugh.

We will walk boldly, and learn.

We will fold into grace that will carry us.

We will let it sing us through the desert.

We will cling to it all the way home.

Girl of Cardigan

A quick note to those sweet among you who will read this and worry – yes, this is a dark piece.  Writing is often the best way for me to process darker things, and writers are often keen to see and tell and share the darkness a bit.  It is a dark piece, but not a dark life.  We are full of hope and gratitude, and beauty is abundant and recognized around here.
  • Janice Christman February 2, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Oh, Karyn, to have the blessed ability you have to just feel….whether it is light or dark, it doesn’t matter, the mere fact that you feel is the part so many miss in their journey of life! You have the ability to express it all and I yearn to read what you are feeling…it is so alive and so real! Thank you for this, it was so full of your yearnings and your expression of intensity….I am overjoyed to be able to read this….thank you!

  • Tehlor February 2, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    it’s been a little dark around here lately, and to read these words was like feeling a hand reaching through all that scary blindness and grabbing on.

    I can’t tell you how good it is to know that someone else feels these feelings. That someone else dreams of deserts and silence and still manages to love with the last scraps they have left.

    “What remains if I am simply not the mother I thought I would be?”

    I don’t know. but thank you for the relief of not having to ask alone.

  • Rachelle February 2, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Dear friend, this is possibly the most excellent, beautifully written poem of yours. I believe we all have these fears and you have voiced them well. Love you.

  • Fatima February 3, 2016 at 12:43 am

    Another excellent piece. Thank you for sharing

  • Sonja February 3, 2016 at 8:06 am

    Karyn, my beautiful boy is only a bit younger than your beautiful girl. I found you when your “10 truths about of the first year of parenthood” struck me like lightning after everyone else was gushing about how beautiful life was with a newborn baby. You helped me feel and accept that normal wasn’t 100% beautiful (in the traditional sense, anyway.) I have loved and related to almost every post; the raw human, momma feelings that are hard to admit, but real to us all. Thank you for the light and dark, another momma from Wisconsin.

  • Don Hart February 3, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Karyn — This is truly one of your best! Even tho I’ve never been a mother, the power in it is overwhelming! What a gift God has given you. Thank you for sharing it!

  • R July 13, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    I can’t believe I stumbled on this blog. Your writing is so moving and powerful. Thank you so much.