One of the English Language Arts B30 curricular outcomes is to write a letter of inquiry (or request). I decided to join them on this one (and complete my blog entry) for March (six days early!).
Dear Big M and Little M,
Well, it seems a bit premature to be writing this letter to you, Girls, especially since you are only 4 years, 2 months and 1 year, 10 months at the time I am writing this. Already, at your young age though, there are a few things I need from you … now, but perhaps more especially in the future. It is likely that what I am asking for now is perfectly unreasonable, perfectly impossible, but I will ask anyway. Do your best, okay?
First, Girls, please do your best to be patient with me. It is a very big job looking after two little girls … making sure you are fed well, clothed decently, clean-ish, stimulated sufficiently, challenged appropriately, taught adequately, and loved unconditionally. Some of these things are obviously easier than others, of course (like loving you unconditionally). This, combined with seemingly insurmountable household tasks, makes it very challenging at times for me to be as accessible as you would sometimes like. Often, I feel overwhelmed, so please, please just try to be patient. Try to notice all the things I am doing and the different ways I am caring for you and our home, even though right now these things probably mean absolutely nothing to you … I do all of these things for you, for us, for our family. I want you to feel proud of yourself, proud of our home … never embarrassed. I am also trying to teach you about being responsible, about caring for our things, about eating well, about looking after ourselves. In every task I do, there is a lesson for you. Please try to notice.
Secondly, Girls, I need you to try to understand there is more to me than just being a mother. I am, very proudly, your mother, and undoubtedly, that is the most meaningful and valuable role I will ever have. But I am also a teacher, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a colleague, a community member … some of these roles I was given at birth, some of these roles I have acquired as the years progressed, some of these roles are mandatory, and some of these roles are my choice. Each role comes with a set of obligations, and, at times, I find it difficult to find a balance between all of these roles. As I attempt to fulfill one role, I sometimes have to sacrifice my other roles, and each sacrifice is accompanied by unpleasant feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Please, try to understand that despite these negative feelings, all of these roles are important to me, and sacrifice is an unavoidable aspect of life.
Finally, Girls, I need you to please recognize that there are many things that are important to me. Of course, the two of you, are my first priority, first on my “Important Things” list. But you need to know that you are not the ONLY things on my list. Your dad is on my list, and frankly, I wish the two of you could pipe down long enough for us to have a conversation without being interrupted (BEFORE, we get to the point in our day that we are so physically and mentally exhausted, we don’t even have the energy to talk anymore). There are other people on my list too, but there are also things on my list … pastimes … activities … objects … like exercising, reading, learning, researching, being creative, starting AND finishing a project, writing, spending time with friends, engaging in meaningful conversations with people, helping people, listening to people, sharing with others … my list continues. I need these things; I want these things; sometimes, I want them more than I want to make a craft, more than I want to watch a cartoon, or more than I want to play babies. In fact, there is plenty of times that I am with you that I am yearning for something else, something more compelling, something more stimulating, something more thought-provoking (I am sorry that Caillou’s oversimplified plot doesn’t interest me). It’s nothing against either of you; it’s just something in me. It’s part of who I am. Please do your best to recognize the person I am. I am your mom, but I am also so much more.
It won’t be until you become mothers yourself (if you ever do) that you will even begin to realize or recognize some of what I am asking you today. Mothers lose a part of who they are, they sacrifice many things on their “Important List”, and focus only on their children. I can’t do that. At times, let’s be honest, you make it impossible for me to focus on anything else besides you, and at times, let’s be honest, it is those moments when I truly invest the time and energy to connect with each of you, that bring the most meaning to my life. Please, please be patient with me as I navigate motherhood, as you navigate childhood. I will work hard to ensure you have the best lives I can possibly give to you, but I will NOT sacrifice every other part of MY being to do so. I can’t. I can’t deny who I am, look you in the eye, and tell you to honour and respect your whole being if I haven’t honoured, respected, and modelled that way of life for each of you. Go after what you love, (attempt to) fulfill your many roles, sacrifice what needs to be sacrificed, and invest in things that are important to you.
I love you, Girls, more than you’ll ever know …