To my Daughter:
You will be seventeen tomorrow. Seventeen years ago you came into this world. I gave birth to you on a Sunday evening at around seven, on the 30th of June. You were in my life for just eleven short years. Although that is not entirely true. You are in my life still. In my heart, in my thoughts. I see you everywhere in skinny, long-legged eleven year old girls.
Oh daughter, how could I know that you would be gone from me, and how could I have known to prevent it? You were such a mama's girl, still with your chunky childish writing and putting kitty stickers on your letter to me--presumably your own idea to write it-- that you wanted to live with your dad and itemizing your things that you wanted from home, from me.
You are still a skinny little girl to me with your hair thick as a horse's. But you are seventeen. I can't imagine what you are like now. How has life molded you with the hardships that you have endured? Are you still impulsive and inquisitive? Do you still have that impudent attitude, the way you would say, "MOM! Why do you walk like that? WHY do you talk like that?" Insisting that I buy you high heels at ten years old. (I did not buy you any.) Now you don't need high heels. I know you are almost six feet tall. Although I can't imagine it. I can't imagine having to look up at you as I talk to you.
I can only remember the little girl you were, still fairly unscarred from life. Still believing if you demanded it enough you would get what you wanted, and often times you did. I reminisce about the fun we had, being silly together, how we would just laugh and laugh. I remember playing Barbies with you when you were little. I would play the daughter and you would be the mom with your Barbie, and I would make the little girl yell and scream and throw tantrums. Laughing you would say, "Mom, don't make me pee my pants." And you would tell me while we were playing Barbies, "Ok, make her be nice now." But I would still make the little girl cry and whine, and giggling you would run out of the room to the bathroom.
Oh Daughter, what do I want to say to you? So many, many things. Six years worth. If I could I would go back and do everything in my life differently to prevent ever being away from you. To prevent you having to grow up without your mother. I am so sorry you've believed I don't want to be with you, and that I abandoned you, that I don't love you and am a dangerous person for you to be around. I know you have thought those things because you told a mutual acquaintance. And it rips my heart in two to know my daughter believes I don't love her and that I abandoned her. Please know I love you more than I can express and I never intended to be away from you, or for you to be away from me.
I have so many memories. Memories of you as a chubby, happy baby. Memories of Christmases and birthdays, and just ordinary days of us doing ordinary stuff. Together. That is what I have of you Daughter--memories. I don't have the present and I don't have the future. I have the past where you were in my life and I was your mother. I have hopes for you and wishes for myself. I hope that we are together again. That I get to be a mother to you.
And I have hopes for you that are just for you. That you are happy. That you are well-adjusted and secure with good self-esteem. That you like yourself and are your own best friend, and have dreams for the future. And that somewhere deep down you know you have a mother who loves you. More than anything.