to my kids when I’ve let you down

I always wake up with good intentions. 

At least I’d like to think that. Of course there are those mornings where I really don’t want to roll over and start the day and I have a headache and I’m crabby when I enter your room. Maybe I don’t start out crabby, but when you don’t want to wake for school I’ll snap back and say something about how I don’t want to wake up either. 

There are mornings and nights when I feel in my mom heart that I’ve let you down. 

They hurt, they really really do.

I think they hurt because I wanted your childhood to be this magical place of adventure and wonderful memories. And all of my letting you down moments tend to chip away at the picture of the childhood I think you’ll remember. Sometimes I worry that you’ll remember the crabby, not the wonderful. Or that you’ll remember that I was so so so tired. Or that gluten free chicken nuggets and frozen fries was my go-to meal. Or that the divorce ruined your life no matter how very hard I am trying to make these years good too. 

Listen, I kind of hope you remember that because sushi was $5 on Wednesday night that I made it honorary sushi night. Or that I wrote you little notes on Post-it notes that I would put in your lunchbox. I want you to remember the notes, not the bag of Cheez-its or not so creative meals that I judge myself so harshly about.

I don’t know why I tend to think that childhood should only be magical.  Of course I want you to have a wonderful childhood, but I also want you to learn empathy, compassion and how to do hard things. And honestly, sweet kids, being a mom is one of those hard things. And maybe on all those moments when I fail or stumble or wish I had done it differently it’s you learning one of life’s most important lessons.

We are all humans.

Trying, loving, showing up, giving. And that never means that we are entitled to a life without troubles and only glitter. Instead it means we understand the joys of glitter moments and that not every single moment in life has to be perfect. That instead there are moments where we extend grace and we love and we forgive and we try again.

After all that is what family is about.

Family is about loving the other person.

Family is about loving when you feel like you have nothing to give. It’s about showing up even when tired. It’s about forgiving and asking for forgiveness. It’s about being there. 

So when I feel like I have let you down, know that it is because my deepest desire is to be the best mom I can be for you. And you know, maybe I have missed how much all the little moments have impacted your lives. How you like to play cards with me at the lake or you get excited because I made the spaghetti sauce your favorite way or that I found you a Mario shirt on clearance at Target or that I let you cuddle in my bed even though it means you’ll probably fall asleep there and I won’t get much sleep because you aren’t still.

The moments that matter most might just be tucked within the moments we think we stumble.

Because on those days listed above, with the little things, were days filled with stumble things too. And all too often I tend to see the mess ups, not the blessings of the moments. Thanks for loving me despite all my stumbles. I think maybe you learned to do that because I have loved you in yours. No matter what happens I’ve always been there. That must matter. I just forgot. 

I forgot the floors pace when you were colicky and the time spent soothing. I forgot the hair pulled back when you were sick and the loads of laundry done. I forgot how when you cried at night no matter how tired I was I willed myself out of to be there for you. I forgot. I just plain and simply forgot and let the clean up of glitter distort the beauty of the moment. 

So sweet wonderful kids who get to journey with me in this adventure called life – let me tell you this – I could not imagine doing it with anyone else. You make my life wonderful, challenging, tiring, grand and a gift.


Your mom who tries so hard.

original words by Rachel Marie Martin

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