Dear Kids: On The Days I Fail, This Is What I Need You To Remember

by Jess Johnston
Yagi-Studio / iStock

Dear kids,

Sometimes I wake up in the morning, and I see that you’ve grown over night. Your faces are more defined, your eyes look older. A part of me is excited and in awe. I know you have so much ahead of you.

Another part is scared because time is racing, and I can’t slow it down. I’m afraid that I haven’t always been awake and aware of this, and that somehow I have slept through the magic of your growing. I wonder, have I enjoyed you enough? Have I given you what you needed? Is your heart still whole? Is your spirit unbroken?

I’m not always good at this. I’m not always as good as I want to be when it comes to being your mom. I want to be great, and sometimes, I am. But sometimes I’m not.

Sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don’t.

Sometimes I do it right, and sometimes I completely miss it.

Every day, I make mistakes.

Sometimes I snap when I should be sensitive. Sometimes I lecture and give chores when what you needed was a hug. Sometimes I completely and utterly miss it. I know that I do. I mistake your pain for complaining or your sad heart for a bad attitude. I watch myself miss it, and later, I grieve that I didn’t respond differently.

I miss it when I am tired and you get my leftovers at the end of a long day. I wish that you didn’t, but sometimes you do.

I miss it when I am scared. I am scared of big things and little things. I really thought adults had it all figured out, but I am one now, and it turns out we don’t. Sometimes fear snatches my heart and I can’t seem to think of anything else. I forget to relax and enjoy you. I forget to smile and to laugh. I’m working on that.

I miss it when I am lost. I’m struggling with my own demons, and it has nothing to do with you. Sometimes it’s anxiety or depression, but it’s never, ever your fault. I will keep striving for wholeness, so that when you reach those obstacles, I can help you do the same.

I know that it is easy to hang on to the negative things and forget all the positive, but I want to set the record straight. When I look at you, I am so proud. When I look at you, I see good. I see someone who is mighty. I wonder how I have been trusted with such a treasure. Your heart is pure and soft. You are gentle and kind. You are vivacious and fierce.

I am forever your biggest cheerleader and your greatest fan.

Please keep helping me to see you and to know you. Keep telling me when I hurt your feelings. Keep sharing with me your fears and your insecurities, and we will figure it out together.

I’m okay with making mistakes, but I’m never okay with losing your heart. Your heart is what matters to me.

I hope that my weaknesses teach you something. I hope that when you come upon your own brokenness, tiredness, fear, and confusion, you will be okay with it. I pray that your imperfections won’t scare you as my own have done to me. I pray that you won’t run from them, but that you’ll wrestle with them and keep showing up, saying sorry, and trying again.

We don’t always get it right, and that’s okay.

We are all professional mistake-makers, and you will make lots and lots of mistakes. You will make countless amounts of mistakes, just like I have, but not one could darken the light I see when I look at you. You are my treasure. You are my reason.

Even though life is racing by, sometimes we have a moment. Sometimes we can reach out, grab time, and hold it. The world stops, all is quiet, and we really see each other. In this moment when I glimpse the person you are and who you’re becoming, all I can think is…


On this morning when it seems you’ve grown overnight, I want to tell you that you are wonderful. You amaze me everyday — and as I watch you, you inspire me. You inspire me to pull out the greatness that’s inside me. In this family, we will make mistakes, but we will keep doing it together, and we will keep holding each other other tight.

It turns out I’m never, ever going to be perfect, but I am always and forever yours, and always and forever on your team. That I can promise you.

I love you.