To My Child Whom I Have Failed

To My Child Whom I Have Failed


I did not set out to do it. My intention was never to undermine your confidence in any way, but still I believe I may have done so. What do I do as I sit here with a sinking heart, saddened with the reality that I failed you in that moment? Maybe it wasn’t a “beat you senseless” kind of failure, but instead more of a, “I sent you the wrong message” failure, but a failure in it’s own right just the same.

As I sit here writing this my heart is a little heavier. I try so hard to build you up, to give you not only a hefty dose of self worth but also of self awareness and a sense of reality. In sports we talk about being number one, about how there will always be people who are both more and less skilled than you are. We talk about focusing on you, your goals, your accomplishments. When it comes to relationships with friends we talk about loving each of them for who they are, for the things you love about them, and through the things you don’t love as much. It is important to be the kind of friend you would like to have, no matter what.

Beyond all of the everyday things, you struggle with all the typical girl stresses too. The stress over clothing, make-up, acne, friends, boys, heck everything and anything can be overwhelming and all consuming for you right now! When it comes to these matters (and pretty much everything else) I believe in telling it like it is. Think of all the times we have watched someone audition for American Idol and wondered, “Why didn’t someone tell them they shouldn’t audition, or that they don’t recommend the outfit choice?” I don’t want someone to look at you, my child, my precious baby and think that.

The result of this, at least right now, is you, internalizing my, “Mommy reality check” and I am saddened by this. Sad that something I said has made you second guess, feel self-conscious, and doubt yourself in any way. My intentions are good. I want you (all my children) to learn to see yourselves from the outside looking in, to see beyond yourself and think about how you present yourself, whether in look, by actions or speech. To really see yourself, and to be happy with what you see, and to be comfortable in your own skin. Unfortunately, in that one moment I failed. I wasn’t even aware I had done so until days later.  My attempt at cautioning you over what might turn out to be uncomfortable in the end has backfired.  The big question now is, when this happens what should I do?  I think I admit failure, apologize, and attempt to right the wrong, heal the hurt.

As a parent, as a human, I am bound to make mistakes, bound to fall short of what I had hoped I would do or be. In these moments I think that not only can I learn, but that I can help you learn too. Maybe I can help you learn to recognize and acknowledge when you have fallen short. You are watching everything I do, taking your cues from me. Therefore good or bad, success or failure, I need to lead by example.  I can show you how to take responsibility for things like this and how to work to make them right. Thus in my failure I hope to lead by example, by taking ownership of my shortcomings, and trying to right what I sent so wrong.

So to my child whom I have failed, I am sorry. Know that I love you, I am your biggest fan.  You are you, wonderfully you.  My greatest  hope is that you will know yourself well enough to do what is right and comfortable for you, despite what others may think.  I want you to be happy, and although I may have veered off course this time, I will do my best to not make the same mistake twice.