Photo by Daniela Rey on Unsplash

It used to be easy. Band-aids and kisses fixed skinned knees, a cuddle on the couch with your favorite book would cure a grumpy mood, a little extra time helping with homework would bring that math grade up to one we both felt better about. Brownies, movie nights, family time, commiserating and hating all the girls who hated you…easy fixes to problems we thought hard at the time.

But now, you are you. You have grown up ideas and grown up ways, but still with only the years of a fledgling. It’s no longer enough to kiss your wounds – now you’re learning on the hard road of experience, and I’m only there to encourage you, help pick up the pieces. I can offer that band-aid, but it seems insignificant and small compared to the hole I see in your heart.

I’m still the same mommy who sees red when someone hurts you, who feels pain at your injuries, physical and emotional. I feel burdened with a need to love you, protect you, keep you from making the same mistakes I did, to swaddle you and lock us away in a playroom with Barney playing on the speakers.

I want to hover, to insist you do it my way. I want you to avoid the relationships I suffered through and the loss of self-worth that resulted in giving my heart to someone undeserving.

I want to fix your grades (maybe even homeschool you again), and forget that you need to move on from me and deal with those grades yourself.

I want to tell you that I know you best – I know what career you should choose and partner that would be best for you.

But, I look at you and am stunned. I see a woman, facing me eye to eye: my equal. My better. I’ve raised you to be smarter and kinder and more beautiful than me, and you’re all those things – yet why do I still see 2 year old you? With grape jam on your shirt and a milk mustache and mismatched shoes? Is that little girl still inside this goddess before my eyes?

I don’t know if I’ll ever stop seeing you as a child, although I promise, I’m trying. I’m also trying to listen more than speak, and to let you be you and make your mistakes so that you can also make your own victories – ones you can own and be proud of – victories I never even thought of with my limited imagination.

I promise I’ll keep trying, if you promise to be the unique, limitless woman you are. I raised you to be that woman, and that’s one thing I’ll continue to insist on.

But I still have brownies and a cuddle on the couch if you need them.