TBL: An Open Letter to My Children

I know it’s hard. I know it’s unimaginably difficult to live with a parent who sometimes quickly vacillates between the ups and downs of life.

I know because I’ve lived it. It was my reality. For years. And now it’s yours. For better or worse, this is what you get. Frankly, I think I’m a pretty rockin’ mom all things considered, although feedback from my kiddos may vary.

Loving me is one of the easiest, hardest, and most worthwhile things you will ever do. I am completely worth it and the reward is priceless but the effort is sometimes harder than you will ever imagine and for that, I am sorry. In retrospect and in advance.

For what, you ask? Well for the reality of living with a parent like me. Who loves deeply, cares passionately, is fiercely loyal, and damn funny but at the same time sometimes very sad, exceedingly happy, and generally somewhere in between the two.

You’ve seen me as you’ve grown and you know I don’t tend to do the “let’s get on an airplane and take a vacation!” kind of mania. In fact, you know me well enough to know that when I’m going to Goodwill it’s probably because I need some sort of retail therapy. You also know that when I’m up in my room reading or doing artwork that I’m trying to find my center and occupy that space. Not that you know what that means yet but I want you to know that I understand.

I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to have a parent disappear and not really know why they can’t just “come out and play” but rather are held back by the invisible restraints of overwhelming depressive states. That I occupy these spaces for mere hours at a time makes them no less difficult for you. I get that.

I’ve been there. When you’re not really sure which version of your parent you’re going to see that day. When you’re smiling and happy and then they say something that unintentionally takes the wind out of your sails. When you’re sad but they’re in a disconnected space at that point so they don’t always notice.

I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to cry and hope that your parent cares enough to understand. Hope that they’re even in a space to. To not be certain and yet crave it so deeply that there is no other way for you to live and love, just this. Careening with hope and caring with the desperate wish for a parent who is whole, present, loving, and predictable.

I’ve been there. I am sorry about the predictable and whole bits, those will never be me, not in the way you’re looking for. I am whole. Just not the way you hoped I’d be. I am present. Most of the time. When I can’t be, I have a whole village present for me just in case. I am most definitely loving, deeply and without apology. I love you and always will.

I’ve been there. As for predictability? Well, it’s never really been my thing and who knows? When you grow up it might not be yours either. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

I’ve been there. It’s hard sometimes but I promise I’m worth it.



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