How do I describe to you that these are my best and hardest years?
How do I tell you that you would always be enough for me without making you feel responsible for my happiness. That is the trick. My aim is to love you without reserve and then send you on your way, full to the brim with courage from all tenderness you received. I hope, above all, you know that you were loved.
Baby books tell a lie. They provide no drama, no truth. They leave out all the minutia of every day life and archive only the lightheartedness skimmed from the very top of good moments. They not tell you about the time I cried into my pillow for an hour while you soothed me at 2 years old. They cannot depict a mother and her son, on the floor at 10pm shooting grapes into each other’s mouths, laughing wildly; or me kissing mustard off the corner of your lips, the molten feeling of love so profound that it could never be recorded.
I want you to feel safe in your home. Stable. My life was anything but and sometimes I’m on the edge of my seat, using my very last breath, providing it for you. I know I will fail. I want to be upfront and honest about my shortcomings. I want to ruthlessly pursue eliminating them.
I do not want time to erase, soften or fragment these memories. I want you to have a fair and well rounded picture of your life. I’m sorry that I am your only documentarian. I’ll do my best to tell it honest and true. My memory is not the best even now and I want your life to feel as full, round, contextual as possible. I do not remember much of my early years and grandma is not much help filling in the gaps of my memories. Trauma in families takes its toll. I suppose it’s all for the best but my personhood, my life, my identity feels fragmented, fractured, missing because of it.
I yelled at you today. Sometimes it happens. Once, maybe twice a month. Something happens, usually I’m overwhelmed in the moment and you do something benign and I snap. All of the undisciplined force of the inner chambers of my heart come flooding out. The deep wells and passages that I sealed off from myself and from you to protect us. I am 6 years old again and feeling out of control and I’m parroting back the hate, the vitriol, the anger. It’s trapped inside of me. I’ve done work to dismantle it, diffuse it, reroute it…but it will always be there. In some capacity. It’s as if it has worked its way into the flesh of my insides, sunk deep inside, where it would not be forgotten.
I love you so much dear children and you are helping me heal and helping me feel in ways I never thought possible.