To my children on Mother’s Day.

mama bear

You are all adults now and you are living independently in your own homes with your own families and I am incredibly proud of the adults you have become. Mother’s Day is here again this year and I have been thinking about what I would like as a gift and what I would like: is to apologize to you. Yes, I want to apologize to YOU. If you want to buy me something or make me a gift that’s fine- I will appreciate it but I think I would like you to know now how I have felt being your mother. Anderson Cooper has released a documentary about his mother and he entitled it ‘Nothing Left Unsaid' because his father died and he still had so many questions. He doesn’t want to make the same mistake with his mother.  It inspired me to think about what I want to say to you, what it is like to be your mother, why I did some of the things I did and hope that we can always understand each other.

There were lots of fun times and positive moments that filled me with joy. I know there were times when we didn’t agree and you thought I was wrong and I thought you didn’t understand life and you thought I ‘didn’t understand anything!’. We argued, doors were slammed, words exchanged and then we talked and we moved on. For some things, though, I am not sure that I really moved on, when I reflect back on what I did and said or what I didn’t do, I feel regret. I am sorry that I didn’t realize how awful daycare was for you for so long. I’m sorry that I didn’t figure out a better way for you to handle it sooner. I wish I would have figured out earlier that high school was for difficult for you and developed a way for you to deal with it before those punks ridiculed you. I wish I could have taken a year off work and spent time alone with you when you were lost. I wish I had chosen a good father for you, not just for your sake, but because it would have made my job easier if I had had a more able partner. You would have had another point of view, another parent to talk to and support you. It’s a huge regret I have. Heck, I’m still sorry your gerbil died and I couldn’t bring it back to life.

life regret quote

Now you have, and will have, children of your own and I have to break it you; you are going to make mistakes, some big ones and thousands of small ones. You will read books and articles and talk to friends and relatives about how to handle situations and the plethora of advice will overwhelm you. You have to trust yourself, as I trusted myself and even then you will make mistakes. Your kids are going to think you are as stupid as you once thought I was. “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” Mark Twain. I am far from wise but I am smarter than I was. I learned with you and from you. The youngest benefited from my lack of experience with the oldest because I may have been dumb in your eyes but I learned what not to do again. I see now that often I didn’t recognize your maturity or your gifts or intelligence. There were times when I should have pulled harder on that reign and times when I should have let you run loose. I don’t know how to advise you on this with your own children except that sometimes I will have something to say about what I see and I hope you accept that I am trying to prevent you from making the same mistakes I did and that I love both you and your child so much I am speaking with my heart. If you promise to let me give a few pennies of advice here and there, I promise not to over extend my account. 

I remember the moment I brought you home for the first time. I laid you on my bed and just looked at you and thought, “Now what?” An avalanche of emotion collapsed on me and I was changed forever. I became a Mama Bear. I vowed right at that moment, “If anyone, and I mean ANYONE, harms you I will crush them!” I felt like that then. I had the same passion when I left you in a dark hospital room that night many years ago because you needed more than a band aid. I still remember the sound of your helpless voice and the look in your eyes, it was the same look I had exchanged with you when you were 3 months old and I was rocking you back to sleep in the middle of the night. I would, and still will, do anything to make sure you are safe and secure. Anything. The Mama Bear never dies and sometimes she does things that aren’t the best. She might scratch people with her actions and her words in defense of her cub. It’s nature. It’s how we keep the species going. I’m sorry for those who have been in my way. I’m sorry I embarrassed you in front of your friends. I apologize that I stepped on toes to get to you. I could no more be kept apart from you than the Earth from the Moon.


On this Mother’s Day my gift to you is an apology for all the times I got it wrong and the mistakes I made. My other gift to you is the one I gave you that moment I made eye contact with you, that moment you crawled into my heart and made it bigger and the world a livable place because you are in it. I loved you then and I love you now. Singing happy birthday with you, putting a band aid on your arm, crying with you when you hurt, cheering you on when you’re winning, just listening when you talk, I will always love you. Always.


Deborah Baron

Deborah Baron

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