Dear Adeline and River,
It’s important that you know I struggle. Life comes at me and I am often at a loss. Take the past two nights, for instance. Adeline, you became decidedly more difficult recently. I think you are trying to cope with a mother’s divided attention. You are also neck-deep in your two’s; so there’s that.
Last night your meltdown was historic.
of your bedtime routine was met with the fierce defiance of an angry toddler. After your mother valiantly navigated your emotional minefield, River gurgled out what can only be interpreted as, “my turn.”
River, while your mom was dragging Adeline through her bedtime routine, I was lost in your world. More specifically, lost trying to keep your three-week-old digestive system functioning properly. No amount of burping, leg pulling, and position changing can remove those bubbles in your guts. Finally, at 1:00am you fell into sweet silence.
As I layed in bed, I consciously attempted to unlock the vice grips on my chest. I eventually drifted into fitful slumber only to be awakened by you, Adeline. It was 3:00am and your bed was wet. We all make mistakes.
In my grogginess, I somehow managed to dig up gentleness. After changing your sheets, jammies and pillow case, I crashed back into bed holding on to the glimmer of hope that you would sleep in. Nope. You popped awake at 6:30am, ready to rumble. I was exhausted.
Last night, I face-checked my mental wall. I was at a loss. I tell you both this, not because I want you to feel guilty. That’s not my intent at all. Every parent sacrifices for their children, it’s part of the contract. You don’t owe me anything for this.
I tell you this because I want you to know that I too get overwhelmed, tired, and exasperated. I hit moments when I simply don’t know what to do. Basically, I still need a pacifier and a good scream – only the adult version of these things; which aren’t far removed.
You see, I don’t want you to experience that strange, modern rite of passage “suddenly realizing your parents aren’t perfect.” I want you to know this implicitly from an early age. I want you to learn how to accept imperfection and see it as a strength, not a weakness.
Adeline and River, I am not the all-powerful demi-god that you may envision. I make mistakes. I often don’t know the path forward. As you grow, I hope you will see that I don’t demand perfection from you, I just demand honesty. And any truly honest person will gladly admit to imperfection.
Now please, go to bed.