The difference between a mother and a mom is quite exponential. Yes, a mom can also be a mother, but sometimes mothers are not moms. A mother is the one who gave birth to you, her duty is nothing more than to give you life. A mom? Well, to me that title must be earned. A mom is someone who teaches you, protects you, understands you, annoys you, and ultimately loves you. A mom is someone who fights for you when you can't fight for yourself. A mom is someone who corrects you and pushes you to be the best version of yourself that you can be. A mom is someone who loves you when you don't even love you. A mom is someone to inspire you and encourage you when you don't quite hit the mark. She believes in you when others don't. A mom is someone you can count on when everyone else lets you down. I have a mother and a mom. Those people have two different names and two different roles. One was a lesson, while the other was a blessing. One was meant to carve a hole, while the other was meant to stitch that same hole. Although I would love to talk on and on about how great my mom is, this letter, however, is not to the one I appreciate, but rather the one I so often resent.
To my mother,
I forgive you.
Yes. I forgive you. That does not mean that I need you, I want you, or I intend to seek out your acceptance after 16 years. I simply mean that I forgive you. I forgive you for carving a small hole in my heart that was meant for you to fill. I forgive you for making me question my worth all these years. I forgive you for missing my kindergarten graduation and all those Halloweens where I dressed up like an idiot. I forgive you for searching for your identity at the tip of a syringe or through the glass of an empty bottle. I forgive you for coming back. I forgive you for calling me, sweetheart. I forgive you for making me care only to inevitably hurt me again. First time, that falls on you. Second time, jokes on me, right? I forgive you for giving me an ounce of hope that our "family" could be restored. I forgive you for creating the illusion that I needed you in my life. I forgive you for making me believe that what I had wasn't enough. That the family that wanted me wasn't enough. I forgive you for making me believe that I wasn't worthy of the love they were so freely giving me. Most of all, I forgive you for leaving me to feel so helplessly alone.
I need to make this clear. I am not granting you forgiveness so that you will sleep better at night. This is my first step in moving on. I've held on for so long refusing to give up because everyone deserves someone who never gives up on them. I held on hoping you would change. I held on hoping that you'd find some kind of redemption. I held on for just the sliver of a chance that you might look me in the eye and apologize. All I wanted was an apology. You left me to wonder why. Why the person who was supposed to love me more than anything, didn't. When you love someone you become uniquely vulnerable because they have the power to hurt you like nothing else. You made me believe that if my own mother didn't even want me then how could anyone else? You made me believe that I was unlovable. There is a problem with that though because you only accept the love you think you deserve and I did not believe I deserved any. I pushed everyone who could potentially love me away. If someone got too close, I removed myself. I entered situations knowing the outcome would be bad. I refused to allow myself to care too much because if you don't care then you can't get hurt. I do all of this because I am still holding on. I'm holding on for acceptance. I'm holding on for love. I'm holding on for freedom. I am holding on for you. You never held on, so all of a sudden I started holding on for the both of us. Along the way, I lost myself. I lost sight of things that mattered. I lost sight of all my passions and desires becoming all consumed by my innate desire to fight for you, to fight to be accepted by you, to fight to love you and be loved by you, and to fight to save you. But, I can't save you, Mother. I am not a savior. I allowed myself to believe that I was. I allowed myself to believe that I could change you. I allowed myself to believe that I could save you, but I can't. Nor is that my job. I allowed myself to hold onto you, not realizing that by harboring unforgiveness it's as if I was drinking poison expecting you to be the one that got hurt. You are not my mom, and I no longer expect you to one day be. So, I'm letting go.
I forgive you.
But, I cannot and will not ever forget.