An Apology To My Firstborn Child

by Sarah Stewart Holland
Originally Published: 
Image via Shutterstock

My dearest firstborn son,

I’m sorry I focused so much on your stupid sleep schedule. Some of my worst moments as a mother were trying to get you to take a nap that first (and second… and third year). I yelled. I cursed. I cried. Or I left you crying. It seemed so important at the time. You NEEDED sleep. What you didn’t need was a crazed lady yelling at you to sleep. I’m really, really sorry about that.

I’m sorry you spent so much time with adults. I’m an only child and daddy’s family lived far away so there weren’t a lot of cousins. Plus, I hadn’t perfected the art of mommy friends yet, so you spent a lot of time as the center of adult attention. I wonder now if that’s why you’re such a serious kid. I suppose the world needs all those responsible firstborns to keep things running smoothly, but I worry sometimes that I robbed you of some of the silliness of childhood.

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I’m sorry I fed you all that bland baby food – even if it was homemade. Your little brother ate what we ate from the get-go and, as a result, he seems to have a much more adventurous palate. For months, you ate nothing but unseasoned sweet potatoes and carrots and peas and any other vegetable I could fit in my Beaba Cooker. I’m really sorry for that. I’m hoping one day you’ll overcome your fear of spice and learn to embrace your culinary wild side.

I’m sorry for dragging you to every stupid baby activity I could find before you could even sit up. Truth be told, I was desperate for adult interaction and you were an easy excuse.

I’m sorry for all the overzealous discipline. We spanked. We yelled. We doled out way more than our fair share of time outs. Daddy and I were rookies. That’s the truth. We hadn’t yet learned the subtle art of choosing our battles and adjusting our expectations. You took the brunt of that and I’m so so sorry.

I’m sorry that you still carry the burden of our learning curve. You’ll be the one we figure out how to manage homework with, and curfews, and college applications. I have loosened my grip on being the “perfect” mother, but I still feel the pressure of all those firsts with you.

You see I want to get it RIGHT precisely because I’ve messed up so much in the past with you. I feel like I owe it to you. You gave me the greatest gift possible. You made me a mom. In the most intense way possible, YOU are my baby.

That’s a lot for one kid, and I know that. I’m sorry.

Thank God for your siblings.

Love, Mom

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