Dear Mom,

Thanks for your letter.

Thanks for your apology and for the deep wisdom in your beautiful words.

I am sorry you feel sad. I am sorry you feel you let me down at times and that it hurts when you feel like you are not always the perfect mom you think you should be.

Here’s what I want you to know.

I know the world you are preparing me to live in is not perfect. I understand that we are all a little bit broken… sometimes a lot broken. People have rough edges; sometimes those rough edges rub up against each other and we bleed. I understand that pain is part of life. It is not your job to shelter me from this uncomfortable reality even in my most intimate relationships.

You are preparing me to live in a world where people let each other down.  I understand that adults don’t get it all right all the time. I am going to have to find my way among people who sometimes hurt each other, who often live as less than they hope to be.

The world is a messy place. Everyone struggles. If people believe they are fulfilling the standard of behaviour they would like to achieve, their standard is too low. They need to up their vision a little and understand that none of us ever achieves the fullness of beauty, love, and compassion for which we were created… never.

I do not need you to be any version of perfect that you might dream up.

Tidy is terribly overrated. I do not need you to try to protect me from the realities of being human that I will one day be forced to face.

I do not need you to never fall short of being the person you would like to be. I need you to hold a vision that is grander than you will ever achieve; but then I need to know that you are ok with not fully reaching that beautiful vision.

When you impose an impossible burden of expectation on yourself, you cause me to feel that life is about measuring up. I cannot live in a world that judges me for failing to reach some impossible standard. You can help me be free of that critical voice within myself by not trying to operate in that deadly pinched world of measurement and judgment.

The only world that has room for any of us, is the world of grace and forgiveness. This is the world in which we understand that we let each other down. It is beyond our ability to never cause pain even for the people we love the most.

But, you know what… pain is ok. Pain is part of life. Struggle and difficulty are part of life.

Even if you could shelter me from all suffering you would not be doing me a favour by creating for me a world that is never uncomfortable or awkward. By trying to protect me from pain, you are not helping prepare me to live in the real world of real human relationships. I need to start getting ready now to deal with the fact that, even in the most loving relationships, everyone is dealing with their own demons and sometimes those demons influence their behaviour more than they might wish.

But I don’t want you to worry too much about this. I know that the demons are not stronger than the love. I am not frightened or shocked when you are a little bit grumpy and growly.

The most important thing you need to know about me is that I am stronger, more resilient, and more resourceful than you could ever imagine. All I need from you is for you to help me trust the inner beauty and strength that are my true nature beneath all the scabs and sores I will acquire in life.

The way you help me learn to trust that inner steadiness that is more real than all my failures and flaws, is for you to trust this reality in yourself.

I need you to fall down and get up, and fall down and get up, and fall down and get up…

I need you to be imperfect. I need you to fail. I need you to be less than the person you were created to be. And, I need you to be ok with all that because that is the only way I am going to be able to get ready for the massive failures that lie ahead in my own life.

Please mom trust in the beauty and nobility I see in you all the time… even before you have had your morning coffee.

Understand that I know deep in my being that the love you have for me is vastly more true and more real than all those times you miss the mark. It is only when you are ok with not being the “perfect” mom that we will be able to grow together in that deep strong love we share and that nothing can destroy.

I know how much you love me and your love for me is only matched by my love for you. And I know that our love covers over all our failures.

I love you,

The strong little person you helped bring into the world