I don’t understand why she yells at Daddy. Daddy is nice. He lets me eat all the candy I want, and we play together all the time. Mommy is always working.
I don’t understand why Mommy doesn’t like Daddy or like me going to his house. We always have so much fun. We stay up late watching movies. We have rainbow-colored cereal for dinner. I’m seven.
I don’t understand why they fight since he is not around that much. Every time they see each other, they bicker like two mad, fighting roosters. Why does she have to be mean to him? She always seems bitter.
I don’t want to be like her. I want to be happy. Please don’t say I have my mom’s smile. I don’t have her hair. I dyed mine pink. Don’t confuse me with her—even when I wear her clothes.
I hate her. She has so many rules. Can’t she relax a little? If she would just leave me alone for a bit. I can’t wait to leave home. I wonder where Dad is. I haven’t heard from him in years.
She was crying. I hugged her. She told me I’m her world. She was looking at a photo album she restlessly filled over the years with photos, letters, and diplomas. Most of them are pictures of me; when I earned my first gold medal for lap swimming, my role in the Rocky Horror Show at my senior year Halloween’s event, a copy of my first song. Earning my first karate belt, the school belly dancing presentation that I organized, my sunbathing on the rooftop with my best friends, my side hustle teaching kids how to roller skate, the recurring photos of our camping trip to the Redwoods every spring. And a picture of my birth. I was sleeping on her chest. Her hands were over my tiny little body. She looked peaceful. I looked serene. It seemed that she was my whole world and nothing else mattered.
I stared into the mirror. And it landed on me, like a veil rests on a bride’s head. I was showered with hope, and acceptance and forgiveness. I understood the sacrifices my mom made that paved the way for me to become the woman that I am. Strong like an Egyptian pyramid, intelligent like a chess champion, investigating like Sherlock, and fearless like an eagle soaring the stratosphere. Those were the values she instilled in me every time she said no to what wasn’t good for us. Those were the boundaries she put up to defend me from the piercing rain, the ravenous wind, and the poisonous snakes. Every time she put me first before her happiness.
I’m seven months pregnant.
I gave birth to a precious little girl in my living room, gazing at the pacific ocean through the windows of my dream house. I was surrounded by candlelight, in the arms of my life partner and my mom.
Little child, I hope I have healed a good portion of our ancestral pains and my mother’s wounds for you. I know I can not save you from every struggle and that you have your own journey into deciphering some of life’s mysteries. I hope I can teach you with kindness all the lessons Mom taught me but didn’t know how to articulate. I only intend the best for you. Please forgive me if down the road I don’t have the tools, the knowledge, or the awareness to show up and express myself as you need me to.
I’m humbled by you.
Mom, she has your smile and your curls.
She is three.