"What's the world for you if you can't make it up the way you want."

-Jazz, Toni Morrison


A Mother's Letter

A Mother's Letter

    There is so much I would tell you little girl, if I could only reach you.

    I can see you standing near me now, pale and washed out, like a ghost. You are always near me. You haunt me. It is not your fault. It is me keeping you here. I am unable to let you go. It is just one more thing I am unable to do.

    If I could speak with you, I would tell you that I am sorry. I am sorry that my body, made to be your home, could not keep you safe. I would apologize for my lacking; for my inability to the do the one thing that nature intended I do.

    I would tell you that I was scared. You were not supposed to be a part of my life. I was very young and alone and  had a future. Everyone told me that you would get in my way. For a while, I believed them. I wanted you, but I believed them. I often thought about how difficult my life would be with you. I often thought of all the sacrifices that I would have to make for you. It wasn’t until I lost you that I realized I had never thought about what you could do for me, had already done for me. You had made me more responsible. You had made me kinder. You had given me a family. You had given me purpose.

    I would tell you of all the dreams I had for you. Even though you were just a speck inside me, I wanted the world for you. I thought that you would do great things. I would raise you better than I was raised; to be better, to think better, to always follow your dreams. I would have raised you to be strong in the face of a world weighed against you. I had so many dreams for you, and I know that you would have had so many dreams of your own. I wish that I could have heard them. I wish that I had been given the chance to help you reach them.

    It’s strange. I am older now and the people I meet now often ask if I have children. I don’t know how to answer them. You were my child, my living child, for three glorious minutes. I was a vessel for you for all too brief a time. But I never mothered. I never kissed your knees when you fell, or sent you off to school, or held you when you cried over your first broken heart. You can be a motherless child, but can you be a childless mother? I don’t know the answer to that.

    If I could hold you now, little girl, I would tell you that I love you. I would tell you that I will never stop loving you. I would tell you how loving you is as essential to me as breathing. I would tell you that I will never forget you and that you are the best part of me.

    Love,
    Your mother


Alana Ballantyne is a freelance writer living in Michigan. When she is not scribbling she can be found at the movies or reading her latest find from the library. Website: alanaballantyne.com

Cover photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

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