If I can be way more transparent than I’m comfortable with right now, I have always wanted a man to love me unconditionally 😬. To choose me first above anything and anyone else. To cherish my existence and protect me from all harm, including and probably most importantly, himself. I’m aware this comes from having less than intentional fathers. Which has led me on a quest for love it took me 32 years to find. In my late teens and early twenties, I could pretend that playing games and riding faces was sufficient. I could brag in my raps about how superior I was. I had no idea what healing took. How ugly it could be. The loss I’d have to experience to get here. How real I would have to be with myself to even desire to be truly whole. I could not be here without my son. I’d still be pretending. Comfortable with less than my best because my average still exceeds expectation.
I’ve often regarded love as a distraction. Guilty of immersing myself in my partner; their needs and their experiences. Oh but baby, there is no distraction greater and no love deeper than that between a mom and her child. This shit is probably about to sound hella cliché, but my son has redefined love for me. My expectations of everyone, including myself are so much clearer. Carter got me checking my own heart posture before I check anyone else (and if you know me, I’m quick to check a mf** 🤣). I wasn’t ready for this kind of pruning, but I had no choice but to dive head-first into this affair. No book, no conversation, no training could have prepared me for motherhood. The tenderness, the discipline, the patience or the lack there of. My God, there is no stretching, no lesson like motherhood! But what I have found most profound in this process is the power of forgiveness.
The forgiveness tour began around October, and in true mom fashion, my stop was last on the list. I did not realize I would be the hardest to forgive until I arrived. Like most of us, I am my harshest critic. Probably why anyone else finding fault with me carries an extra layer of hurt. Picture a burger with like five thick ass patties; I can’t wrap my mouth around the shit, much less chewing and digesting it all. Between Carter and Pastor Michael Todd I have been getting a crash course. I’ve sent emails, letters and texts oozing with humility I would have never sent a year ago. Checking my own thoughts and motives led me to prioritize genuinely seeking forgiveness rather than passing it out like I’m Oprah in a generous mood. But when it came to me, I struggled the hardest. It’s the boundaries for me! Understanding that as an adult I’m responsible for what offends me and who is a repeat offender. I have a bad habit of blaming myself when someone has me fucked up. Like I shouldn’t have let you get close enough to hurt me. As if we can avoid heartache. As if we can avoid ourselves. Mothering takes daily forgiveness. Imagine losing your cool and getting loud with an infant. Imagine how dumb and low you feel. Imagine holding onto that feeling as you navigate new moments of joy and frustration, sometimes simultaneously. I can’t operate at my best holding onto yesterday’s mistakes; Mine or anyone else’s. I’m learning to continuously wipe my slate clean. Not in a way that makes me unaccountable, but in a way that grants me the space to make better decisions. If I can give this grace to others, I gotta be able to give it to self.
It truly tickles me how much I’ve grown under Carter’s tutelage. His loving me has me constantly examining myself, striving to be better for him, me and us. He won’t always be a baby; one day he’ll be a man. And that thought alone allows me to have more understanding for my brother, compassion for my uncle, forgiveness for my dad(s) and love for his father. Through Carter my desire is quenched to be loved unconditionally. To be chosen first above anything and anyone else. Mutual adoration. Endless affection. Maybe this thinking is selfish, but who knew such love could come from self? I birthed my desire in Spring. In two months, he’ll be a year old and in this short time he’s taught me more about myself than I even dared to want to know. But what I never could have predicted, is that he’d teach me how to love me. 🤞🏾💕
Happy Valentine’s Day to all the mommies, from Carter and I. xoxo