My Darling Child

My darling child, I have been there.
My own mother had not.

When I asked her why he broke my heart.
She did not know.

“Your father was my first love” she said.
“Your father is my only love” she said.

“Why can’t I find my love?” I asked.
“You will one day!” she would say.

That day came, my child.
That day came and then I had you.

My darling child, I have been there.
I have tried it all.

My first job was in Chinese takeaway.
I never ate so well!

My second job was in retail.
I never despised strangers so much.

My third job was in coffee.
I still drink it every morning.

My fourth job was in cosmetics.
Makeup application remains my passion.

My fifth job was in the manufacturing industry.
I call this one my career.

My favorite job is being a mother.
Because that is hard work, too.

At first I knew nothing.
About any of these jobs.

But I just kept going.
And I learned them day by day.

I got paid for learning, too.
That was the best part.

I get paid in love, though.
For being your mother.

My experience has taught me things.
That I did not know before.

Like how the beauty industry is skewed.
And marketed toward insecurity.

And how some bosses are mean.
But how some bosses are nice.

My Wok Express boss would feed me.
Authentic from-scratch food.

Not the stuff out front.
But the stuff that they ate at home.

It was the best food I’d had.
And I still dream of the flavors.

I gained forty-pounds while working there.
And made life-long friends.

I thinned out when I started in retail.
Because I wanted to fit in with the others.

I lost weight but quickly gained confidence.
And that confidence kept pushing me forward.

My darling child, I have been there.
In the midst of a tough exam week.

Struggling with some more difficult courses.
And thriving in some of the others.

I know what college is like.
And I know what university is like, too.

Sadly, I struggled in university.
But I thrived happily in college.

Perspective and experience are the precise factors.
That distinguish the experiences from each another.

I struggled because I was insecure in university.
I thrived because I was confident in college.

My darling child, I have been there.
I have woken up in the hospital.

So when you call me at 3:00 am.
I’ll pick you up from the bar with your friends.

Because I don’t want you to know what it’s like.
Waking up in the hospital with me looking down at you.

I thought that I would like to forget about the pain.
But remembering the pain is what reminds me to protect you.

One time my mother picked me up when I was drunk.
We went through the McDonald’s drive-thru.

She ordered a hamburger, too.
We ate them and she laughed with me.

My mother never judged me.
But she worried all of the time.

I am like my mother now.
No judgement, but with plenty of the worry.

My darling child, I have been there.
Being ogled by grown men.

Looking back on these things now.
I realize how scary some people can be.

I was only sixteen years old.
When they would try to ask me out on a date.

Sixteen is far too young.
For grown men to be asking me out.

It made me understand, though.
And it will help me to help you later.

My darling child, I have been there.
Experiencing the online world.

I have experienced some terrible things.
Which has enabled my radar for creeps.

I will do my best to protect you.
By sharing with you these experiences.

I know what it is like to be harshly judged.
And to rise above that judgement.

My darling child, I have been there.
In the darkness of oblivion.

Not knowing where to turn.
Or what to do next.

I will hold you through those times.
And wait until the light shines again.

My darling child, I have been there.
In the bottom of a grease-filled pit.

Attaching a come-along to a stuck roll.
In the bottom of the mill.

I have known the pain of being too weak.
And I have known the triumph of being strong.

It is all a matter of perspective.
And how much lesson can be derived from it.

My darling child, I have been there.
In the early hours of grief.

Waking up to a nightmarish reality.
And wanting desperately to sleep.

I will teach you the complicated truth.
That is ever so simple to know.

When it comes my turn to die, you will know.
That I will never really leave you.

My darling child, I have been there.
Drowning in self-hate.

Looking at each reflection with a frown.
Wishing for it to transform to something different.

I will teach you that the key to beauty is inside.
How inner-beauty will radiate that externally without effort.

There is no amount of makeup in the world.
That can cover-up self-loathing.

My darling child, I have been there.
And now I am glad that I have been.

Every heartbreak, bruise and bump was worth it.
Because you will be prepared.

My darling child, I am here.
Offering support when you need it most.

And some guidance when it gets more difficult.
With loud applause the entire way through.

My darling child, this life is a gift.
And you are my greatest joy.

“You’ll miss me when I’m gone!” Mom would say.
And we would laugh at that inconceivable notion.

I miss her everyday and you know what?
Together we still laugh at that inconceivable notion.

It is inconceivable that she would leave.
Because I would never leave you.

My darling child, thank you.
For illuminating every word spoken to me by my mother.

For watching you grow has taught me the sheer value of it all.
And I completely understand what she meant.

When you tell me not to worry, I understand now.
What Mom meant when she said that’s impossible.

My life has shaped me so that I can help you.
And I am excited to experience it with you.

I will not keep you from the painful parts.
Because those painful parts were what shaped me

But you will not enter into the painful parts without some information.
That will see you land on the other side, unscathed.

I will not hide my life from you.
Because you gave me life anew.

Love, Mom.

Kaila A. Notto

Copyright © The Mindful Millwright 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Published by The Mindful Millwright

Kaila A. Notto

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