A Letter to My Daughter for the Day She Tells Me She Hates Me

My Edie,

At this point I'm only one on a list of many influences in your daily life, and I'm probably the most annoying You've made decisions I hoped you wouldn't and felt pain I prayed I could keep you from. You've also seen plenty of my flaws and failures and in the midst of whatever is overwhelming you today, you let me know I haven't mothered you perfectly. You said things you hoped in the moment would break my heart the way yours shattered when you realized I was just a human, too. But I know you didn't mean them. You don't hate me in your heart.

I know this because not long ago, your heart beat just beneath mine, enclosed within the same skin. You loved me with every move of your tiny body as you kicked and rolled and rearranged my insides like you were there to stay. And I loved you back with each little decision on how to carry out my day, what to eat, how to nourish and nurture you so that you could leave my womb, breathe in the world and eventually grow into your own womanhood. I loved you fiercely as I grew you, and I love you even more now that I've been able to watch you grow. But you still live by the beat of that same heart I first heard when I'd been your home for only eleven weeks. I had no idea how someone so small could sound like a train approaching, but now I know.

It's okay that you feel like you hate me in this moment because you've loved me in so many others. I carried you inside my body for nine months and then outside for years, but I was your passenger. Every time you turned around to make sure I was watching, each grab of my hand, all of the pictures you colored and naps you took in my arms, every tear you bathed my shoulder in, all of the nights you kept me from sleep--your love has carried me right along, and so quickly. So you can hate me right now; I know so much can change by tomorrow. Just yesterday you were nestled against my breast, nursing into a dream.

So all I'll say is my heart is that same heart, too--the one that has been beating for you since the day yours started fluttering beneath it.