Dear Charlie

Dear Charlie,

It is February 2nd, 2017. Unfortunately, our president is a mad man, but you don’t know that. Momma has been sick for about two weeks, but you don’t know that either. Momma and Daddy have been really, really worried lately. Worried about the world, the country, and our own place in both of those things as we navigate this unknown territory.

But you don’t know that.

Here’s what you know.

You have this super loud voice and you like to experiment with using it. People tell you you’re cute A LOT and you really like to hear that. You like your teachers and friends at Mother’s Day Out, but you like when momma comes to get you best. You know that if you hold out your hand to Bubba the labrador, and it has a goldfish cracker in it, he’ll lick your hand clean. You love that. You love to giggle at your dogs.

You know that momma doesn’t care if you splash water in the bathtub and some of it gets on her, but she’ll make a funny face anyway. You know that daddy has to leave a lot more often than momma does, and you really hate that. You know that when you come to visit grandma at work that grandma will let you play with her highlighters and paper at her desk. You know peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are meant to be dissected before being eaten. You know that momma hates it when you throw food on the floor, but you do it anyway.

You know that you get to nurse twice a day-before nap and before bed. You know that if the weather is nice and we’re not busy, momma will take you to the zoo. You know that you’re really not supposed to play with mommas phone, but you do it a lot anyway. You know that you love Sesame Street, but Elmo is your favorite. You know that Bruno Mars is the best music to dance to. You know how to take your diaper off and think it’s really funny to do so right after momma has put it on.

Here’s what you don’t know.

You don’t know that sometimes after you go to bed momma huddles under her covers and cries from the emotional weight and frustration of raising such a beautiful and strong willed child. You don’t know that sometimes, especially lately, momma feels so guilty for feeling ready to go back to work part time, because even though she loves you, momma misses her career and her independence. You don’t know that momma worries that you’re not talking very much and you’re almost 20 months old. You don’t know that it breaks momma’s heart that you still haven’t actually said “momma” or anything like it.

You don’t know how much thought goes into whether or not we should try to give you a brother or sister someday. You don’t know that momma has a really hard time loving her body the way it is, but she is trying really, really hard to set a good example for you about that. You don’t know that momma has had a taxing battle with her antidepressants these last few months, though maybe you’ve noticed that she’s finally starting to feel better, and she doesn’t have to sleep so much now.

You don’t know that momma cries because she can’t remember how it felt to hold you when you were only eight pounds, or ten, or even fifteen. You don’t know that even though momma is always ready for the quiet alone time she gets after she puts you down for the night, she always misses you and very often creeps into your room to watch you sleeping. You don’t know that even though people tell her she’s doing a good job, your momma doubts her mothering skills every single day.

Here’s what I hope you do know:

I hope you know that even on days like today where momma is frustrated with you and doesn’t know what to do, that she still loves you. I hope you know that just because momma sometimes gets upset, there is nothing wrong with you, because you see, even though momma knows you better than anyone else in her life, there is still so much she has to learn. I hope you know that every day of your existence on this planet you are wanted, you are important, and you are worthy. I hope you know that momma tries to make every single decision with what is best for you in mind.

I hope you know that you are momma’s truest love, even on the bad days. I hope you know that you are momma’s dream come to life, even when she’s crying. I hope you know that there are no words to describe your value in this world.

I hope you know you are loved.

Momma

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7 thoughts on “Dear Charlie

  1. I think that it is perfectly normal to get an urge to go back to work and you shouldn’t feel bad about that. Society tell us that we should want to be with our kids 24/7 but I like going to work and have never wanted to be a SAHM (I also wouldn’t be a very good one).

    As far as a second kid you have plenty of time to figure that out- Charlie is only 20 mo old. My kids are a little less than 3 yrs apart and I would recommend at least that range. The older one is far easier to take care and talk about what she needs the older she is.

  2. Congratulations for keeping your body issues away from your daughter. That is a HUGE gift.
    It IS a scary world right now. Being afraid means you see what is happening. Write your elected Congressional people…. or call.
    Glad you new meds are working. Proud you kept at it until it was better.
    It is ok if you are ready to go back to work now, even full time. Life is real.
    Her language is not delayed, she is being herself. Each child hits different milestones at different ages. Your doc will know if and when to be concerned.

  3. For some reason (Can anyone guess why?) this made me think of you. Find and read whole story.
    The Blameless Burden: Scapegoating in Dysfunctional Families
    January 30, 2017 • By Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC, GoodTherapy.org Topic Expert
    2964 0 0 15 0 >
    Person in gray skirt suit stands under spotlight, head bowed, in red-toned roomIn biblical lore, Aaron selected a goat on behalf of the entire tribe, cast upon it the sins of all members, and then banished it alone to the wild. The members of the tribe were then at great ease, having been freed from their cast-off sins—whatever those sins may have been.

    Everyone felt better, though they had neither identified their specific sins nor atoned for them. They had simply agreed to hang them on the goat. If this spurious logic was obvious to anyone, it was not discussed. Why question an agreed-upon means of making everyone feel better?

    Now about that goat. It was selected from the herd and sent forth into the wilderness for reasons having to do with the sins of others. The goat had done nothing to merit banishment. But once the ashes were cold on the rituals of dispatching it, the goat found itself alone in the wilderness, isolated from its herd, in unknown territory, suddenly forced to fend for itself. It faced dangers from predators; difficulty finding food, sustenance, and shelter; and it lived the constantly woeful insecurity of a herd animal without a herd.

    In dysfunctional families, for reasons similar to those Aaron devised, there can also be a designated person selected for the role of scapegoat. In a family system, the selection process is less overt than Aaron’s. It is done more by consensual and habitual shunning that becomes an unspoken code of behavior: one person is chosen to bear the brunt of any psychological discomfort experienced by the family as a whole. It is justified by repeating the stories that create and then reinforce the image of the scapegoat as being a person who is worthy of disdain and disparagement.

    Like the strong goat Aaron selected, the target of family scapegoating is also often the strongest and healthiest member of the family. At first blush, this may sound counterintuitive. But think about it a little more. In Aaron’s case, there would be no group pleasure derived from banishing a weak animal who might easily die anyway, because that would not gratify the needs of the tribe to send off their sins on a robust vehicle, a strong goat who was up to the task of bearing the burden. So it is in families: the targeted individual is often the

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