Dear Little Bear and Itty Bitty,
I take my responsibility as your mother very seriously. It is my job to keep you safe, provide for you and give you the right tools to function as adults while honoring who you are as individuals. In the everyday madness that comes with that responsibility, I don’t often have the chance to say all the things that race through my mind. So today, I’ll take a little time to share “some random thoughts from mommy.”
What I Wish for You
I wish that you have a childhood free from adult responsibilities. Very early in my own childhood, I had to care for your aunt and uncle. Although there were many aspects of my upbringing that were footloose and free, I still felt a lot of responsibility that was beyond my years. I want you both to enjoy playing, learning and having fun with each other. Enjoy being 3 and 9 and 16 and 21; these moments will never come again and the adult life is tougher than anyone can convey to you.
I wish that you always feel how much your dad and I love you. Even on our most challenging days, there is nothing that brings us greater joy than the two of you. I used to think my parents loved me out of a parental obligation to do so, but now I understand the totality of their love. It is because we created you, but also because we watched you grow, become independent of us, we’ve seen you on your best days and your worse days, we understand who you are, we’ve taught you and you have taught us. Our love for you knows no bounds.
What You Have Taught Me
Language matters. I know this seems very trivial in the scheme of our lives together, but I have learned that the words I choose to use have real meaning and severe impact. It is not just my words, but my inflection, tone and body language. These things affect how you interact with me, how you view me (at least in that moment) and how you view yourself. For example, I will never ever call you a bad child; there are only bad behaviors and bad choices. I have applied this lesson to my broader life and it has made me a better person.
My capacity to love is greater than anything I could have imagined. I love and am in love with your dad, but our relationship has some deal breakers. Lol. There is nothing (NOTHING) that you could do or say that would lessen my love for you. Regardless of how I feel, your health and well-being always come first. I have never felt this type of obsession to care for other people so holistically.
What I hope to Teach You
Stand tall in who you are. This is something that I really am just now embracing as a 30-something-year-old woman. There is nothing wrong with being outspoken, marching to your own beat, being ambitious or crying because that’s what you feel like doing in that moment. Embrace everything that makes you unique and love all of who you are because I do.
Love each other. There are no words for how important family is and no accurate way to convey how important siblings can be. I love my brother and sister without reservation and they have been two of my biggest cheerleaders and shoulders. There will be plenty of times that you will need each other’s support. If you allow it, there will be no one else in the world who knows you as well as your brother and that makes for an amazingly valuable relationship.
I am certain there are a million other things I could list here, but this is what is on my heart right now. There will be more wishes and more lessons to share another day. I hope you remember them all, but if you only remember one, remember that I feel very blessed to be your mother.
Yolanda Jenkins is a wife, mother of 2, and an introverted leader. She can sometimes be found sharing the good, the bad and the ugly on IG @thislibralife.