An Open Letter To Cohen Cerda <3

14 Jul

Dear Son,

There have been so many days and nights in our lives together.
Moments that were just ours to share.
Moments when we’ve laughed, so hard, and with the same sound.
Moments where we’ve triumphed the most unusual difficulties.
You were too young to have had watch me fight myself all those nights when I was drunk on anger, then having to hear all my doubts made into tears.
You held my hand as I cried because I thought life was just too sad.
Everything was gone but you were the only thing I ever actually needed to last.
Your little smile bandaged me up and no matter what I knew you were the very reason why I’d, one day, turn our life back around.
I flip-flopped, spun and twirled, each time, only to find myself landing face first, plowing into the ground.
I’ve dragged you along and sometimes you had to chase after me… Until now – Right now is what has made me believe in the “it just meant to be” & that’s YOU + ME.

I’ve wanted you to hurry up and fall asleep and then, I’d sit there by your bedside, stroking your forehead, brushing your hair back, watching time pass too quickly as your face turned from tender infant to messy toddler – Now, nearly a schoolboy – Soon enough it’ll be you running wild through the streets of this old broken down town.
I was thinking, a few weeks ago, about the many things I’ve given up in trade for the honour of having spent these past five years as your Mommy.
Once upon a time, I had a perfect body.
Not a trace of fat, tall and lithe, strong and firm.
I was chiseled in curves and unbending in strength.
I traded it for the heaviness of pregnancy and the postnatal beauty of the duties of motherhood.
I used to stay up late at night, going wherever I wanted, traveling all over the place, catching rides and wandering.
I’d drink if I wanted to.
I’d eat when hungry, and sometimes, not at all.
I traded that for nights spent rocking you to sleep, night of feedings and worrying.
I traded it for healthy dinners and giant breakfasts.
I traded pizza and pop for begging a little person to eat broccoli
I traded in my right to eat the last cookie.
And well, eventually, I traded my nights of freedom for nights without an ounce of sleep.
I traded having a glass of wine (yes, you’re right, a shot of whiskey) on a weekend evening for late night cartoons.
I used to have the longest, laziest baths. I’d close a door and lock it, and I’d read almost an entire book while soaking in fragrant bubbles, using my toes to turn on the tap and reheat the water every so often.
But then, I traded that for the sound of your little voice at the door, “Momma, can I come in there?” and the “But Mom, I haveta pee!”
I traded it for things like when we’d haul in sand from the sandbox and add blue food colouring to the water and play “beach” in the bathroom.
Recently, I’ve traded political literature for Aurthur books and Captain Underpants.

For years, I listened to kiddie songs and sing-alongs and traded in my music for rhymes and silliness. 
Somedays, we’d just sing our own tunes and drum up our very own beat.

I traded lazy days for outdoor events in the dead Summer heat- I traded the last sip of my drink and you’d always say “Mommy, that’s so sweet.”

I used to not really think too much about the impact of my choices on others.
But then, in one fell swoop, I traded “ah, whatever” for the guilt-o-matic gene of motherhood.
I used to figure, “it’ll all work out” but traded that for laying in bed at night rethinking arguments I’d been in after hearing someone elses judgments of what they think a mother should be.

I began to think about the impact of my choice of your lunch snacks would have on you later in life.

I’d think about whether or not I’d scarred you forever by saying “yes” or “no”.

I questioned myself after promising to you that all your days and dreams would be safe.
Or that I’ll never have to permanently leave.

I traded selfishness for selflessness and spent many nights in these past few years trying to find the balance between giving and being.

I traded “meh” for motherhood.

Once upon a time, I did what I wanted, without much of an audience.
I traded that for eyes that see me, inside and out.
For a million times asked “why” and “how come?” and “who says I’ve gotta?”
I traded countless minutes of my life for answering “I don’t have to explain why. I’m your Mother” only to spend the next fifteen minutes answering six more “why” choruses.

Once upon a time, the world passed me by without my seeing too much of it.
I was in a rush.
I was doing stuff.
I traded that for days spent identifying crawfish and crayfish.
I traded shopping expeditions for adventures in forests and building sandcastles, for fishing trips and that wretched time I thought you’d like to explore that old barn that nearly crushed us (I’m still sorry).

I traded painting my nails for painting pictures, pushing trucks, playing Bionicles.

I traded sleeping late and hangovers for a thousand days of the Smurf Wakeup Song and games of Mr. Bear, “Look”. He always looked, and your giggle still echoes through my memory.
(I also traded being right and being the wisest person in your world with hearing “who says so” and being lawyered by a four year old!)

I used to have this shell… this… distance between myself and the world.
Not a mask or a hidden place, but it’s as if there was a unbreakable heart I lived with and then, one day, you came along and I traded it for this heart of softness that makes me cry over nothing more than the way the sun looks as it falls upon your face while you’re running through the yard in the mornings and then there’s this fierceness, a strength that fills me with the certainty that if ever, someone messed with you, they’d hope that Liam Neeson of Taken Fame would come for them, instead of me (…I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over years of being a Mother – Ninja Mom Skills that make me a nightmare for people who hurt my son. If you leave him alone, that will be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will mess you up. Momma-style).

I never knew that seeing another person bleed could cut at my own heart.
I never knew that saying “no”could feel so wretched.
I never knew I could be someone’s lifeline and that I’d have to learn to let go of a dream life — only to find that I now have a much better life than I had ever anticipated existing having before knowing you.

I never knew I could laugh so hard, cry so deeply, love so fiercely and feel so proud of another being.

I never knew that I’d trade in so little and get so much in return.

I never knew that my pitiful, pathetic investment would reward me with so, SO much more gold in return.

I never knew that even with all my failures, even with all the junk we’ve been through and the special brand of bizzaro-woman that I am, I’d be on the receiving end of such grace and such joy, such trust and wonder and acceptance.

I never knew how amazingly full my heart could be just watching another human sit in the seat beside me as we drive along country roads, singing silly songs and holding hands.
I never knew that the sight of someone running down the driveway towards me could cause me to fall on my knees in joy as my heart begins to burst out of my eyes in tears.
Or that standing in the freezing cold rain outside to make sure you were okay after I dropped you off at your fathers on those winter nights when I had to go away- I remember each time it felt like the air in my throat suddenly froze, choking back on my tears, eventually causing life to stand still when I heard you call out after me in little innocent weeps.

I never knew that I could be forgiven so much, respected so much, loved or believed in so much.

I never knew that I was capable of such a depth of love.

And hope.

And certainty.

The thought that I am only five years into this investment, that I have so many, many more to spend wearing the honor that is gifted to me just for being your Mom.

It is the most amazing gift of grace and joy I have ever known.

I love you, Son, I’m proud to call you mine, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about the person you are becoming or the path we’ve taken-, you & I have grown to be more than this world could ever imagine us being.

Life will be taking us to many new places.
More winding roads.
There maybe bumps.
Twist & Turns.
Dead Ends.

But TOGETHER, we can conquer anything.

You wait and see.

I’ll never give up on you.
Because, son, without you, I’d never have found this greatness I love so much about me.

If I’m not here and one day you begin to sink, remember what you taught me…
There is an entire world out there filled with experiences and things that belong to you, and you alone.

You’ll trade moments of your life for experiences and for others, as well.
You’ll be wise about it, measuring out what you want and what you need, what you hope for and what’s worth the exchange.

And one day, you will trade in many of these same things as I have—sleep and time, self and selfishness—my hope, my prayer, my certainty, is that what you receive in return will be as amazing, as wondrous and humbling as what has been given to me in return for investing in the little one I love so big- while doing so religiously.


Your Mommy


One Response to “An Open Letter To Cohen Cerda <3”

  1. Kathy Chapman August 9, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    Super sweet, I never knew You blogged! Nice job.

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