I Am Sorry My Darlings. {Poem}

I live with this pulsing guilt every day. Motherhood has been a struggle for me.

I’m pulled in two directions in every moment–create, mother, create, mother. Tug, tug, tug.

Some may say, “Oh, just do both. You can do both.”

It’s not that easy, not when my mind swirls in colors unseen and words have mouths and eyes and beating hearts and they are demanding to be fed at the same time as my human children.

I needed a break yesterday. I left them with a sitter for a couple hours to go work, and this tumbled out. Good or bad, it’s true–I am sorry…

I am sorry my darlings
I can’t be more
I feel the need to protect you from myself
So I go in my room
Or lock myself outside
And drink my coffee alone
Because the noise is too much
I’m sorry you were birthed to a mother
Who should have never become a mother
An artist and a parent is a tragic combination
I am too selfish and unequipped
I live in a world few can see
That is the curse of the artist
We care so deeply, we become paralyzed
At times unable to leave our minds
And move our mouths, our bodies and our hearts at the same time
That’s why I watch you more than interact with you
I soak up your movements and your sounds and your smells
I carry them in my heart like leftovers
Unwrapping them in moments of loneliness
So I remember what life is supposed to sound like
But that’s not enough
Not for you
You need more
I am sorry I don’t play with you
And jump on the trampoline
And make perfectly colored dinners
I am sorry my darlings
I am sorry that I even have to be sorry
That I can’t be the mother who goes on the field trips
And helps staple all of the coloring packets together
And sits in the lunchroom with you on a random Wednesday
I am sorry I can’t to help you with your math homework
Because that was always my worst subject
And I never thought I’d have to see it again
So we look together for the answer on the iPad
And figure it out from there
I am sorry my darlings
That I’ve rushed through our moments together
So I can get back to writing
Or just sit and watch the birds
When I should be watching you
I am sorry for destroying your foundation
For leaving your father
For making you bounce from pillow to pillow
I am sorry my darlings for pushing you aside
Hold on one minute, let me finish this
No child should have to hear that
But the thought was so clear,
The words leaking out my fingertips and I couldn’t stop,
I had to put them somewhere
I am sorry my darlings for this moment, right now
As I write this, you are at home with your babysitter,
Bouncing on your trampoline
And I am here amidst the ducks and the seeded straw
Instead of hearing your giggles,
I’m startled by the backfire of the motorcycle driving by,
When I should be there with you
But I knew I wasn’t able to be your mother this afternoon
I had the craving to create
I chose it over you and I am sorry for that
I am sorry that I can’t be more
It’s just too much for me at times, girls
It’s like I can’t handle your happiness and purity
Because I can no longer relate
I’m on the other side where things have happened that I can’t take back
And now I’m stuck here
I’ve thought of leaving, I have,
I know that will hurt to hear
But what matters is this:
I haven’t and I won’t
I couldn’t live with myself for breaking your hearts
That is one thing I won’t do
I would never make you live with what I have to every single day
It’s living hell
I’m mother enough not to do that to you
I would have to walk to my death
Carrying the shattered pieces of not only your hearts,
But everyone you will love
Because you will surely break their hearts, too
And I want to see you grow
And get your first period
And have your first date
And hold you in my arms as you sob from your first heartbreak
But it will not be from me
I will not break your heart
I will never leave you
That I promise you
I will be here always
But I need you to know that
I am sorry for not being the mother you deserve
Because I don’t know how to be I do the best that I can,
But it’s not enough, not for you
You deserve it all and I am nothing but a broken soul who needs her pen and paper at all times
I am sorry my darlings
All I can offer is my presence
And the hand on your knee as we drive to school
And the hug when I pick you up
And the ice cream sundaes and the flash dance parties
And the summers unscheduled filled with salty sand
And the songs and kisses each night
And the squeeze of our fingertips that say
I love you to the moon and back
I can show you the little things
Like how to catch a spider in a cup and free him outside
And give to the people who have less than we do
And how to write a wish and send it into the sky
And attempt to answer all of your questions about life even if I get them wrong
I will try
I am sorry that I don’t know
I know so little and I feel like I am growing up right along side of you—
Tripping, falling, making mistakes
And bruising and scratching you in the process
I am sorry
I am sorry my darlings
I fail every day and in that failure
I make a promise to you that even in my brokenness
I will not break your heart
I will not leave you
I love you
I am your mother and you are my daughters
Whether we chose each other or not, who knows?
What I do know is that we are here, together
And I will keep apologizing until the day I die
Because I will never be enough of a mother for you
I am sorry my darlings
I can’t be more
Please forgive me. ~Rebecca


3 thoughts on “I Am Sorry My Darlings. {Poem}

  1. Yes, to the sentiments of this poem. I’m a writer and a mother, and the push and pull of it, the precarious often failed balance of it (always feeling like I’m neglecting something, my kids or my art) is such a challenge. Today my kids are home sick, sort of, colds, coughs, sniffles, I was torn, wanting to push them off to school so I could work, but in the end I caved and we’re all home on a dreary day, and I’m staring out the window typing this, wishing I could write more.

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