Dear Small Boy,
This is hard.
Sometimes I get so angry so quickly. It surprises and frightens me. I want to yell at you and apologize to you at the same time, and the irony is that you don't understand either. Sometimes I hold you close and cry and whisper, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" in your ear because I keep making mistakes, I keep losing my patience, and I know there is no end in sight.
I walk into your room for nap time like I'm preparing for battle. You hate to go to sleep. You hate to stay asleep. It is, by far, the worst thing about you, the dark spot in your sea of smiles and giggles and curiosity, and I spend hours every day thinking about it, theorizing, strategizing, and when you are finally asleep at night I lie awake, fruitlessly dissecting it.
Sometimes I calculate the percentage of childhood parenting I've completed because it can feel so endless and I'm desperate to feel like I have accomplished something. I need to know I'm not trapped in an eternity of repeating days, repeating feeds, repeating wake-ups, repeating tears (yours and mine).
I gobble books frantically because they make me feel human and productive, they remind me that I'm smart. I cling to them like a life raft. "I'm still here", I think. "I'm still a part of this world". I hope that in the long term knowing more things will make me a better mother.
I want to tell you how wrong you are to love me. I want to tell you that there is nothing special about me, nothing at all, and that you are a fool to want me the most. There are so many better parents, better mothers, and you deserve so much more than I can give you.
But I am your safe place. There is no denying it and no convincing you otherwise. My body is your jungle gym, your food, and your comfort, your favourite place to be, always. For me there is deep pride and shame all tangled up in this, pride that you love me the most and shame because I will never deserve it.
Dear Small Boy, I have always had a lot of feelings, and you make those feelings bigger and stronger more urgent and sometimes that is scary. So every day I will keep saying I love you, I'm sorry, I'm trying, I love you.