Here's the deal - I thought you'd be here by now. Truth is, you may never arrive. But I'm still your mama – fiercely, entirely and utterly yours. So I wanted to tell you a few things so you'd always know. Like how I want to love you so well and walk with you through all your failures. How I want to teach you everything I've learned while waiting for you and how I'm trying to be the best I can be for your sake. This is for you, kid – love from your Mama.
I've been waiting for a while to write these things down. Hoping I'd have the chance to tell you face to face one of these days. But 'one of these days' seems to be getting further away. There was a time I hoped you'd be five or even ten years old by now, though in hindsight, I'd be a better Mama now than then.
I say 'I would' because there's no guarantee that we'll get the chance to meet, kid.
Yeah, let that sink in a minute. It's not how I wanted it to turn out either. I'm sorry, my darling. If you make it – if the universe conspires our way and I play my part and do my best, if love sends me a chance that I don't mess up and that man who is kind, strong and true loves me and wants you...then, maybe.
Kid, there are so many ifs in this world. I'll tell you now, so you'll always know.
I will love you fiercely and as well as I can. I won't make promises I can't keep about nappies or organic food, how design-perfect your nursery will be or how well-accessorized your buggy may be. But you'll be fed, clothed, bathed and loved. It's how I love you that will make the difference.
I will learn how to love you and give you the chance to learn to love me. I'll help you love and understand your Dad and he'll probably help me out a lot too. I do want to promise you, that I'll do my best to model partnership with your Dad and to love him deeply. I want you to grow up knowing what real love looks like, feels like, sounds like and that you came from it.
I can't wait to see who you'll be and I'll do everything I can to celebrate that. I will never ask you to be less of yourself. I will do my best to help you navigate the world as you are.
I want to be that Mama that you can laugh with all the time, a trusted place for your secrets, the queen of spontaneous adventures. I want us to be late home because we had to stop to watch the sunset. For our backyard to always be ready for a sleep out under the stars. I want to share my love of traveling and adventure with you – teach you how to travel light through life and how to find your way home always.
Oh, I hope you get to see the world with big wide eyes and to embrace the wonder I have at the stars and the moon. I want all those things for you and then, I want to walk you through every crisis and every failure. I want to help you learn how to pick yourself back up and what it really means to be resilient (because that was the toughest and loneliest lesson for me). I know you'll have times of loneliness that I can't fix, but I want to walk through it with you. And I will try, with shaking hands and tears and self-control, to embrace your rebellion when you need to find your independence.
I guess what I'm saying is, I'll try to give you just enough but not so much that being your Mama is more about me than it is about you. I want to be good but I'm not perfect. You'll learn that but the point is I'll try. I'll try not to control you, shape you too much to my liking, I'll try to engage with you as a person and teach you what discipline you need but to always explain 'why'.
I dream of the day you will explain parts of the world to me that I don't know, because you see it differently. And my joy will be that I taught you to see, not what to see. You will be so different from me, kid – but I hope you get the parts of me I like most.
Like dinner parties, books and lazy Saturdays, pyjama days, eggs-in-a-basket, beaches, day-dreaming in the clouds, stopping to drink in all the senses. I hope you love to snuggle and hug your whole life long. Otherwise know I will always be chasing you for kisses and cuddles. Of course, the parts of me I like best are my love of physical touch, the storytelling, music and creativity, the deep well of laughter and wild abandon and the empathy and compassion. I hope you get some of that – it's the stuff I've learned how to navigate best. But then, your Dad will have a lot to teach you too. I promise to make space for him. In fact, I hope there are times when he is your whole world.
Of course, I want our house to be that house where all your friends come after school and to have parties for the sake of parties. I want you to grow up knowing the love and strength of family that is both blood and choice. You'll have a dozen aunties and uncles who will love you as their own, I'm sure. And my darling, some of them will be weird. That's important, because the weird ones are the good ones. I won't be everything you need in life, neither will your Dad. You'll need your weird aunties and uncles, your friends too, to help you learn how to be, how to live and how to navigate the world. You'll need them to talk to when you're mad with us – which is bound to happen.
It's hard to talk to you and not think about your Dad, so I'll say this. No matter what happens to him and I, in the long road of life – I'll have the best relationship with him that's possible at any time. You'll see us fight, no doubt, but I plan for you to see us make up too. To know what healthy communication looks like. I hope you'll see us love more than anything else, to team up for you and beside you and for each other. I really want for you to see that grittiness is okay. It's real and achievable. That real is the very best thing because you get to define it yourself. Of course – these are lessons that I'm still learning, kid, so I'm letting you know in advance.
It takes a lifetime to learn to be yourself and I won't get to see it all, kid but I will do my best to set you up on the right path. Not a path that leads to a particular destination of being a 'this' or a 'that', but the path of learning. Learning how to learn, learning how to be, learning how to love well. Before I go, I plan to see you a long way towards being yourself.
I hope you'll benefit from the lessons I've learned while waiting for you. You see, that's what I've been doing. I know that I'll only do my best by you, if I'm the best version of me there is. The truest version of me there is.
So I wake up each day and focus on being as healthy and strong as I can be physically. I want to climb mountains with you and throw you in the air and make love to your Dad for my whole life. Oh wait... you probably didn't want to hear that last part. But it's true. I want you to grow up in a world of positive, life-giving beautiful touch – a house that thrives on the vital energy of life.
I wake up each day and look to strengthen my mind. I'm still becoming myself and learning to have my own voice after all these years. I'm taking down decades of barricades at the moment and it's for you as much as myself... I want to love you in my full voice, kid. I'll keep working on it, whether you arrive or not. When you get here, you'll bring a bunch more lessons with you, I'm sure. I will try to prepare myself in advance.
So I wake up on Mother's Day, kid – and I'm thinking of you. If you don't ever make it, it's okay. I promise. Everything I've learned waiting for you, I needed to know anyway. But I wanted you to know, kid, that I'm your Mama through and through. Even the idea of you is a gift I'm glad of, a point in the compass that guides my way. I've been your mother my whole life.
Rest easy, kid. Maybe soon. Keep an eye on the stars and the moon – I watch them too, and I believe in magic.
This essay was originally published on tashmcgill.com for Mother's Day 2016.
Tash McGill wants to change the world by helping people to think differently. Sometimes described as courageous by her friends, she frequently says aloud what no-one else is brave or stupid enough to say. She also finds writing third-person biographies uncomfortable.
Tash McGill's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tash-mcgill.html