To the care-free, free spirit who I used to be,
A couple months ago I stumbled across a letter that a lady had written to herself, letting go of the person she was before she had her baby. I remember feeling that ache in my chest as I read it, thinking “I know exactly how she’s feeling.” To be honest, my hormones are all over the place, I cried while I read it. She was saying goodbye, that while she misses parts of her old self, she has something new to live for. She was moving on and accepting her new role; her new self. At the time, I felt empowered. I knew I had to say goodbye to you to be a good mom.
On days when I am feeling particularly tested by L’s tantrums, refusal to eat any of the four meal choices I made for dinner, or the fact that most days I don’t even get to shower before going into public. I think back to that article and I remind myself that this is the new me. I’m a mom now so while you may find a silly, irresponsible way to overcome all the trials of everyday life with a toddler, (like letting her eat spoonfuls of peanut butter, singing louder than she can cry, or jumping in the pool, baby in hand and calling it a shower) I had to be responsible and pull myself together. I had to teach her lessons throughout all the madness and make sure she was growing from every experience.
It took me months of pretending to be this new version of myself to realize that I am not happy. So, “old me,” here it is: I was wrong and I am so sorry. I should have never made you feel like you don’t matter. This is me, welcoming you back with open arms.
I can see why you may be skeptical. I banished you without a second thought based on someone else’s truth, hoping it would be my own just so I didn’t have to struggle with not knowing where I fit in. It’s hard maintaining who you really are, when you just want to be perfect for the little eyes that are always watching you.
The truth is, there is no new me. I am who I have always been but now instead of believing I need to be someone BETTER for L, I know that you are ENOUGH for her. I am enough. When L was born, the parts of you that I always loved had evolved and I thought that meant that they were gone. You had big dreams that were always changing . You loved people and their stories and always thought if you didn’t keep moving you would miss out on something better.
L took all of those things and anchored them, gave them purpose. Now love is steady and strong. This love is truly unconditional. This was something you were not capable of before L showed you how. My dreams are still changing, constantly. I could laugh at all the hobbies being a stay at home mom has brought into my life; photography, refinishing furniture and now apparently blogging! This is all part of bringing you back; harnessing that imagination and creativity that used to fuel me. I deserve something that is mine, time I don’t have to share with anyone but you, “old self.”
All the things that you are, is everything L needs. I want her to know that no one, not even herself can or should silence who she really is. This world needs her; everything that she is and will ever be. And I need you back. I’m sorry for loving L so much that I thought I wasn’t allowed to love you too. I know better now, and I love you.