Alexis and Emily, May 1, 2013
When people tell me they have no regrets, I believe they are either lying, or in denial. I have many regrets, things I wish I had done differently, wisdom I wish I possessed.
You were so little when your daddy died, just shy of 3 and 5 years old. I will never forget those early days of grief. I was in shock for well over a year, and I wore both of our wedding rings every day. I used to put you in your car seats and just drive, that way all you could see was the back of my head and not the tears soaking the front of my shirt. I could not wait to tuck you in every night, because only then could I go to my room, turn on the fans, and wail and sob in your daddy’s closet. I was only 25, and I had no idea how to help you with your grief, I had no idea how to grieve for myself without causing more trauma to you.
The truth is; I could not handle YOUR pain. Looking in your blue eyes, my little babies, so lost, so confused, and so broken hearted. I was helpless to stop your pain. It was too much…it was too overwhelming, and no one seemed to be able to tell me how to do it. How do you explain death, heaven, eternity and grief to preschoolers? The truth is… you can’t.
I was determined that your father’s death would not define us, so we moved to Colorado and started a new life…just the three of us, and the sunshine. God was so faithful and present in every area of our lives. He showed up in your sweet little school, with loving teachers, in a new home filled with peace, and on our daily hikes in the moutians.Then the Black boys entered the picture, and our life became beautiful chaos. You were scared to death but I was in love, with the Daddy, and his 3 young sons. Suddenly, I knew what to do, this was the challenge I was created for. There were four broken boys looking at me with their eyes filled with pain and questions, asking me “can you love us the way we need to be loved?” They were in desperate need of nurturing and stability, and that was so easy for me!
And this is where I failed you, this is where I forgot you, this is where your wounding comes from.
I didn’t see your needs at that time; I didn’t see that all my energy was going into men in our house. I didn’t realize that you were just little girls, still confused, still hurting, and now more overwhelmed than ever. I saw you as little versions of me, healed, steady, and ready to give my heart away again.
But you were not little Lisa’s, you were exactly who you were supposed to be, little Alexis and little Emily. You were perfect, you still are.
I am going to tell you an ugly little secret here; when you are raising children that you have no biological tie to…you are terrified of being rejected. Your biological children HAVE to love you, they have no choice, it comes with the umbilical cord…the blood literally connects you. Your brothers think I favored you. You girls think I favored your brothers. When will you all figure out, each and every one of you IS my favorite?
I am making this confession public because the Word of God tells us that confession is what heals us, and I know I am not the only mom to struggle with this. If we can’t change the past, at least we can try to help someone else with their future.
With all the things I missed, and all the ways I failed, God’s grace has covered it… all of it. He has answered my prayers for the two of you. I always prayed that you girls would be so much better than me, and you are. You have more grace, more beauty, more gentleness, and more forgiveness than I have ever had. I pray now that you will use those gifts, and forgive your mother, so that your daughters, my grand-daughters will also be more… be greater.
As I look at the two of you today, at 20 and 22 years of age. I see that you have indeed become the words I spoke over you every day of your life, and you have now tattooed on your bodies…
“Beautiful, Powerful, without Regret”
Love YOU the best, Mommy