Dear Emma Rose,
First off, I want to say that these past seven and a half weeks have contained some of the happiest moments of my life. Your arrival has brought with it a sense of completion to our little family, and I am happy way down deep in my soul. I have been wanting to meet you for practically my entire life.
But yesterday I accidentally dropped you. I hate even typing those words, but there they are. You fell from my arms onto the kitchen floor, and you bumped your head. You were scared, I was scared, your big brother was scared, dada was scared. I was holding you in my right arm and went to pick up your brother with my left. Why in the hell did I do that? Why wasn't I more careful? You've recently started jerking your head back a bit, you're getting stronger every day, and I guess that's what must've happened. I just didn't have a tight enough grip on you to keep you from falling.
I keep replaying that awful moment over in my mind. How could I have let you fall from my arms, when I'm supposed to be the one to protect you most in this world? Isn't that my job, after all?
And then there was the frantic ride over to the doctor's office, when we kept turning around to make sure you were okay, my mind running through the many fearful things an infant falling on her head may imply, not knowing what the answers would be. You got x-rays, which was scary and upsetting for us both. As I tried to keep your head centered on the "x" so the technician could take the pictures, I caught a glimpse on the table of the shadow of your perfect, precious profile. Even your shadow is gorgeous. Your perfect little upturned nose. You are so precious, so terribly, terribly precious and dear. You are a gift from God. And I had failed you big time.
Yesterday was awful, one of the worst days of my life- and today has not been much better. I tend to be a bit hard on myself anyway, but I'm trying to forgive myself for what happened. I'm trying to learn the lesson that must be hiding within this upsetting scenario, if only because that is what I would want you or your brother to do if this were happening to either of you. (Which, incidentally, I hope it never does. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, as a matter of fact.)
You look at me with such trusting, innocent eyes; royal blue eyes, full of uncomplicated, unconditional love. I admit I am feeling incredibly incompetent at the moment; sad, inept, ashamed. It's almost as if I don't trust myself anymore to take care of you, which is a horribly sad feeling for a parent to entertain. And then there's the sickening fear that if something like this could happen once, what on earth is going to happen next? How will I fail you, endanger you, next time? That tentative, elusive veil of maternal confidence I had momentarily worn has been abruptly whisked away, and now it's just me again, just Sarah, and will I ever be enough? Am I capable of doing right by you and your sweet brother?
I'm only human, and I want you to know that. Just because I'm your mommy doesn't mean I'm perfect or I won't make stupid mistakes. You will know as much as I do about this world, about this life, hopefully even more. You and your brother are my teachers as much as I am yours. So what am I supposed to learn from all of this?
I love you, fiercely. You make my world an infinitely better, more joyful place. I am so filled with gratitude that you are unharmed, that you weren't permanently hurt, that you forgive me and somehow reward my unforgivable error with generous smiles and coos. What is the lesson here? Life is full of messy mistakes like the one I made yesterday, but I can't let one awful mistake negate everything I am as a mother, can I? I can't let any future mistakes you or your brother will undoubtedly make cancel out all the good that you will do in your life, can I? Of course not. I feel like absolute crap right now, but I will keep on forgiving myself until the belly ache goes away. Dark nights of the soul can be a reality in this life, for better or for worse, and I'm trying to get through this one with as much grace as I can muster.
I hear things like this happen quite often, and if it were happening to someone else I know I would tell them to stop being so hard on themselves. Because it's okay for this to happen to other people, after all, but not to us, right?! I sort of can't help but judge myself, hate myself, say I will never forgive myself...and perhaps I won't ever forgive myself, not entirely. But right now you are cooing for me to pick you up, my sweet angel, and so that's what I must do. There isn't much time to sit and wallow and feel too crappy, is there? And maybe that's by design. Much like the way children forgive their parents for their shortcomings day after day, year after year, and vice versa. We are none of us perfect, after all, nor were we meant to be.
I love you, I love you, I love you to the moon and back, Emma Rose. I hope that will always be enough. And I will try hard to forgive myself so you in turn will learn to love yourself no matter what. Because the reality is, you learn by watching me, which means I'm constantly being called upon to be the best version of myself I can possibly be, which is probably by design as well. Life can be so breathtakingly beautiful and precious, it's downright frightening at times. I hope in this lifetime you and your brother will learn to forgive yourselves and love yourselves fiercely through life's inevitable ups and downs. It's one of my many wishes for you both. And now, as much as I don't feel like it, for all of our sakes, I'm going to try and take my own stinking advice.
Your devoted mama,