To The Mother I Will Be,
I am not sure you exist. I see faint glimpses of you from time to time, but they are not enough to convince me. When I confront my brother’s bullies. When I, being the eldest, babysit all the cousins. When I take parental authority over health, something I had been dreaming about since I was six. Small glimpses, but glimpses nevertheless.
I have time, I know. A long time. But thinking about the future and panicking is a favorite pastime, and overthinking it the most ideal way. I keep wondering if I have it in me. I certainly do not have it in me now, but maybe I will have it in me someday. Or maybe not.
I’m impatient. I may not be the worst, but I am also not the best sister in the world. I am not organized. I have issues I inherited from my parents and their parenting, issues that I pray you don’t have. And even if you do have them, not to pass them along. If anything I am sure of, it's to break the pattern. I will only become you if we have the strength of breaking the long, defiling pattern of distance and hush.
But one can’t be a perfect parent, and I know that. I guess one of the most difficult things I will have to do when I become you is to accept the fact that I can't make their lives perfect. You will never be able to give them the perfect childhood and if by some miracle you do, you will be the worst parent in the world. But one thing- the foremost thing to do is making sure you don’t bring up toxic abusers. Seems like a low bar but I have seen plenty of bigoted kids, some being very close to me.
Give them the space to grow. Sixteen year old version of you wants that now. They will too.
And while it’s saddening, their tragedies will define them more than anything else. And you can tell them to let the tragedies define the good and not the bad part of themselves. That is what I try to do. That is what I hope you are continuing to do. And I hope in the whirlwind of literally nurturing an entire universe into a good human being, you don’t forget yourself.
Again, I’m not sure you exist.