Whether you’re married, single, struggling, or cohabitating, motherhood is a difficult task filled with trials and celebrations. Motherhood isn’t for everyone, but to her children a mother is something special. I am a mother first and foremost, and right now it is the only thing I am. I love being a mother. I love you, my children, and I’m thankful you were given to me by the Grace of God.
The years have flown by and you are all off living your own lives. I’m left with the residue of motherhood. I will not stop being a mother just because y’all are grown, nor will I ever stop loving you. Once a mother, always a mother. The years are passing too fast for me, and the days are dwindling down. I won’t be here forever. I have wondered about so many things, lately, most prominently this pervasive sense of guilt and the injustices I’ve had to endure.
I feel so much guilt over my inability to hear and I worry that having a disabled mother brought disparity to your lives. I have this burning rage at what I’ve had to endure and I feel guiltier than ever. I never knew the right thing to do or say, and I still don’t. The injustice did not only come from being hard of hearing. Life played a part. You played a part. This misunderstanding between us has festered for nineteen years because I didn’t know what to do, but enough is enough. This sense of injustice has finally boiled over. It hurts me to see your indifference, to know you talk about me when I’m standing in front of you but can’t hear what you’re saying. I see you laughing and know it’s at my expense, but how can I stop what I don’t know?
Understand this: I’ve never felt sorry for myself. I had to fight for myself and fight to help you all along the way; otherwise, my children, you wouldn’t be where you are now in your own lives. I am who I am. I may not be perfect, but I did the best I could with what I had, and I was there. As a mother, I’ve made mistakes, and I’m sorry for those. Tell me, who doesn’t make mistakes in motherhood?
Resting my head against the back of my chair, I consider the last few weeks. Holidays are the worst. This rage blinds me and I’m struggling to see my blessings when everyone in my life has cut me out of theirs. Where did you go off to this time? Why haven’t you called or come to see me? I’m glad your father has finally come into your lives. How easy it must be to love someone you have no past with. Someone who wasn’t there to let you down. Someone who wasn’t there to make mistakes. Someone who can now appear perfect, bigger than life, better than me. Can’t you see my love, the love that’s always been there for you? I long to hold you in my arms as I did when you were young, but you all didn’t come to visit me, nor did you bring your little ones. Having a hug from you all today would have brightened my day. I prayed and still pray for all of you and your children’s well-being even though it doesn’t seem like you care for mine.
What did I do to keep you away? My heart longs to know the answer. Did I do something? Is my inability to hear so uncomfortable for you? Is my life so boring and pitiful you can’t come and see me on holidays? Were my mistakes so many or so big you can’t see past them to me? I wonder if you think loneliness is infectious. I wouldn’t wish this feeling on anyone.
I realize even though my writing brings me immense pleasure, I haven’t done anything noteworthy that matters to you, my loved ones, my children. You are not proud of me, and that breaks my heart. The hurt and rage I feel; do you know how proud I was just to be your mother?
Now I reside on the margins of your lives. I’m not used to being sidelined. I never thought I’d be excluded from your lives, but then I realize you are parents and will walk this path soon enough.
I’ve never known the right thing to say, nor did I understand that I was the cause of so many misunderstandings. I realize this too late to fix, so it seems. The injustice of it all did not come from me being born this way, but in how you feel about me and treat me because I was. This rage that stems from injustice, I have let it go. Now that you’re all parents, perhaps you can understand this. I love you the same way you love your babies, with every part of my being. I only wish children loved their parents the same way in return.
The time has come to walk my new path in life. Be kind to yourself, Mary, and keep doing what you love. It’ll all work out.
Wonderful letter, Mary!