Let’s face it…I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, from the moment I brought you home. It was like navigating unknown terrain without the appropriate gear. The only thing I had to offer you was my love, which in many ways was all you needed.
Yet in some ways, it wasn’t enough to overcome the experimental part of my parenting. I did a lot right but I also made a lot of mistakes, ones that I wouldn’t be able to correct until the next child. In fact, the youngest one reaped the greatest benefits of my learning experiences.
I oftentimes teetered between spoiling you and letting you get away with everything, to placing a great deal of pressure and expectation upon you. It must have been confusing at times. But being a mom was sometimes scary. It forced me to look at my own insecurities and flaws. It revealed the best in me but it also showed the worst. And being a firstborn myself, I had to battle against the perfectionism that seemed to highlight what I wasn’t doing well. As a result, I was too often harder on you than I should have been and reacted harshly when I shouldn’t have.
At times I didn’t think I had what it takes to be a good mother. I didn’t know what to do when you wouldn’t stop crying or was throwing a temper tantrum. You probably watched too much television and didn’t get enough home cooked meals. I wonder if you were socialized enough the years I homeschooled you. I’m sure that I was too strict and over-the-top with some of my religious beliefs. I probably didn’t trust you enough in responsibility, which makes me think that I held you back.
For every mistake—real or perceived—that I’ve made, I apologize. Regardless of them, I hope you know the depth of my love for you. That nothing you have done or could do would ever change that.
My hope is that when I say I’m proud of you, that you believe it. Not because of what you do. If you thought that my pride in you was based on doing good things or things that I approve of, then let me correct that right now. I’m proud of the person you are and the man you are becoming—which includes your mistakes. I’ve never expected perfection from you. If you didn’t already know that, I hope you do now.
Thank you firstborn, for putting up with my sometimes dramatic and confusing ways. Being the Guinea pig is never easy. But you’ve done well. I am a much better person because of you. You have taught me a lot about myself and life. And for that, I am grateful.