I’ve made as many mistakes as your mother. From moving around too much to letting you stay up too late, I know I should have done better. But of all the mistakes I’ve made, not letting you make yours was the biggest. It’s what I regret the most. I just wanted your happiness. Keeping you safe and happy was my most important job. At least that’s what I thought at the time.
If you forgot your homework, I’d take it. If you were too tired to go to school, she would let you stay home. If you didn’t want to talk, I spoke for you. When your master forced you to stay, I came to rescue you. When others thought you should eat what they gave you, I did something else to you. I never forced you to do anything you didn’t want to do.
Before you could learn from your mistakes, I corrected them.
I made you believe that bad things didn’t happen in life. You didn’t know about the homeless epidemic, financial struggles, or mental illness. You didn’t know there were consequences for every action. I never let you face any of them, no matter how small. I didn’t think it was necessary. But it was.
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I thought I was protecting you. I was protecting you from emotional pain. My love for you is the reason I fought your battles for you. I always came to your rescue out of love. It was my love for you that caused me to fail so extremely. In my heart, I believed that I was doing what was best for you, the right thing. I thought I was doing my job as your mother.
Only now, when you are becoming a young adult, do I realize how wrong I was. Preparing you for adulthood was an equally important job, one that I failed miserably at.
Because you’re not ready.
You are not ready to conquer the world. You are only now seeing what failure looks like. Only now are you acknowledging the evil in this world. And I won’t always be there to catch you before you fall or fight all your battles for you. One day, you will have to fight them on your own.
So now it’s time for me to step back and let you walk on your own two feet. I need to let you make your own mistakes, and I need to let you learn from them. I need to let you fail. I need you to learn to pick yourself up after life knocks you down. And it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
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It’s my love for you that makes it so hard. It’s hard to see you sad, to see you fall, to see you fight. But it is also my love for you that prevents me from interfering. It is my love for you that compels me to let go. Because now I know better. It has taken me too many years to get to this point, but I will make these last ones count.
Not letting you make mistakes was my biggest mistake, but I have learned from it just as you will learn from yours.
Even though I’ll let you walk and fall on your own, I’ll still be there. When it really counts, when you really need me, I’ll get you. I will come to your rescue. I’ll protect you. Because I’m your mother and it’s my job to know when to let you make mistakes and when to save you from them.
I know now, and I will not fail.
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