Child, I Am Terrible, I Am Tender, I Am Trying.

I screamed at you today.

I cup your foot in my hand and kiss it whenever it’s near me. I cannot believe that your heel fits so easily in my palm. I cannot believe that the collection of cells and dreams you once were is now a whole human foot!

I spanked you, too.

I cherish you .I’m still marveling at you and all your parts.

I am so deeply upset with myself and ashamed.

It’s not just your feet, your hands, your sweet-smelling hair. It’s your sense of humor, creativity, brave and brilliant mind, your raspy voice.

You relish ruining peace and pushing boundaries and taking advantage. You seem to pounce on all my weaknesses, reflect them.

I whisper into your little mouse ear all the beautiful things that you are, all the ways that you are a gift.

How can I teach you it’s not OK to lay angry hands and mean words on others or for anyone to lay theirs on you, when I hurt you myself?

I want to give you the world, save you FROM the world

Here I am, being the worst of the world, coming at you with anger and pain.

I tell you you are kind, brave, smart, funny, honorable, loving, and mighty.

I wish I was kinder, braver, more patient, in control, gracious, calm and wise. I wish I was a better version of me, for you.

I tell you sometimes it’s hard to be a person.

Am I credible at all? Am I worthy of loving you? Of kissing that little foot?

I tell you your job is just to be kind and make the next right choice.

Am I modeling this? Do you see my advice in my actions?

I tell you that when you’re not sure what to do, listen to the voice deep inside you, talk to us, talk to your god.

I feel like I’m failing.

I tell you that when it’s hard to be you, when you make a choice you regret, when you struggle, it’s ok to say that out loud.

I come to you deflated; the anger that puffed me up and made me loud, stale, hanging in the air around us. Your defiance melted into tears, fears, in the face of my fury. Your little cheeks are wet with tears. Am I still allowed to kiss them? Am I a comfort or a threat? Both? I wish I was just the one, but sometimes it’s hard to be me, I make choices I regret, I struggle…and I will say it out loud.

I thank you for your grace and offer you mine. I tell you that I am imperfect, that I am trying. That we have work to do together. I hope you see in my ugliness, my flailing attempts to person, my deep imperfections, that I love you and I am trying to be a better me. I am trying. It’s all I know to do.Thank you for letting me practice my person on you and thank you for practicing yours on me. I love you.

Now gimme that foot.

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