To my children,
It’s the New Year, and I have been doing a lot of thinking. I want to say, with all of my heart and all of my soul, that I am sorry. I want apologize for anything (and everything) I have said or done that made you feel less-than or sad or small.
I regret, so deeply, the hurt I delivered through harsh words or sideways glances, for steely eyes you didn’t deserve and sarcastic replies you didn’t understand. I’m sorry for being upset when I should have been more understanding, for resorting to frustration when I should have found more patience, for pulling away when I should have drawn near.
There were the times when you needed more from me, when you asked for more, and I simply couldn’t provide. There were the moments when you wanted less of me, needed less from me, and I couldn’t – or perhaps I just wouldn’t – back away.
I start every day with a hope, a hope that I will be better than the day before. Sometimes I succeed, but many times, I fail. Every so often, I fail in spectacular fashion. I think about all the times when I wasn’t gentle enough or kind enough or attentive enough to you, about all the moments when I was too quick to anger and not quick enough to forgive.
You don’t need me to tell you that I’m not perfect. Lord knows, you know far too well. But I will say it to you, because I think it helps to hear me say it: I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I am human. I have flaws and cracks and blemishes; they are a part of me, just as they are a part of you.
Sometimes, my dear ones, my mistakes are small – like forgetting to pack your lunch or mixing up the dates for Tot Shabbat, or picking you up an hour late from a play date or accidentally switching your piano primer with your brother’s, or sending a snack I know you dislike because I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping and have no other food in the refrigerator. But sometimes, they aren’t so minor.
Sometimes, my mistakes have to do with the way I’ve behaved, and the words I have said, and the way I have said them. For those times, and for all the times I failed to support you the way I should, or help you in the way you deserve, and love you in the best way I can, I am sorry.
I wish I didn’t make so many mistakes. I’m a perfectionist at heart, but when it comes to parenting, there’s still so much I haven’t mastered. Even after almost a decade of doing this day in and day out, I still feel like a novice in so many regards and as green as I did on day one.
Precious ones, I’ve come to realize, no matter how hard I try, that I just can’t get it right all of the time. I hope you can forgive my failings.
The older I get, the more I realize that life is a jumble of hits and misses. As many times as we try and succeed, we also try and fail. As much as we hope to do right, we often end up doing wrong. It is the story of the human condition – this mix of losses and gains, triumphs and defeats. It’s all very messy (think sloppy joes and pancakes dripping with syrup kind of messy), and yet, it’s all we know.
My darling ones, I want nothing more than to do right by you and be the best mother I can be for you. I want to love you unconditionally, support you unreservedly, and be present unambiguously.
In the New Year, I resolve to do better for you, to be better with you, and to act as if God is watching. You mean the world to me. You are everything to me. I love you, always and forever.
All my love,