I’ve made so many mistakes as your mother. From moving too much to letting you stay up too late, I know I should’ve done better. But of all the mistakes I’ve made, not letting you make your own was my biggest. It’s the one I regret the most. I only wanted your happiness. Keeping you safe and happy were my most important jobs. At least I thought so at the time.
If you forgot your homework, I’d drive it in. If you were too tired for school, I let you stay home. If you didn’t want to speak, I spoke for you. When your teacher made you stay in, I came to your rescue. When others thought you should eat what was given to you, I made you something else. I never made you do anything you didn’t want to do.
Before you could learn from your mistakes, I corrected them.
I made you believe 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.
I thought I was protecting you. I was sheltering 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 I was doing what was best for you, what was right. I believed I was doing my job as your mother.
Only now, as you’re becoming a young adult do I realize how wrong I was. Preparing you for adulthood was an equally important job, one I failed at miserably.
Because you’re not ready.
You’re not ready to take on the world. You’re only now seeing what failure looks like. You’re only now recognizing the evil in this world. And I won’t always be there to catch you before you fall or to fight all your battles for you. Someday, you’ll have to fight them on your own.
So now it’s time for me to take a 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 to let you learn how to get back up after life knocks you down. And it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
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 struggle. But it’s also my love for you that stops me from interfering. It’s my love for you that forces me to let go. Because now I know better. It’s 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 one, but I’ve learned from it just as you will learn from yours.
Though I will let you walk and fall on your own, I will still be there. When it really counts, when you really need me, I will catch you. I will come to your rescue. I will 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 that now, and I will not fail.