I sat down to write a letter to my sweet Katie this morning. To apologize to her. To let her know that I get it. That sometimes it takes her Mama a little longer than the average bear to see – to really see what’s right before me, but I get it now.
To tell her that I really do see how hard she tries. How much she gives. How far she stretches and bends and twists and turns herself in the name of reaching her sister. How to keep the precarious balance, the expenditure of effort feels anything but balanced.
I sat down to tell her how sorry I am. That last night was one of those nights. That my frustration with the situation was entirely misdirected. That when she finally melted into a heap of tears and said plaintively, “This is just hard. You have no idea how hard I try,” that I heard her. That I really, really heard her.
That that moment is a part of me now – swaddled in a coarse blanket of shame, side by side with all of those other moments when time had to stop before it became so obvious. God, it’s always so obvious.
As I wrote, I decided not to publish that letter here. As much as it may feel like it belongs here; it doesn’t. It’s for Katie. She deserves at least that. Something precious. Something unshared. Something for no one’s consumption but hers.
What I will say here is this – so that someday when she reads this, she will know that I meant every word that I said on that July morning back in 2011. The morning when I crept quietly into her room before the dawn and woke her up to say that I was sorry. That morning when I curled up next to her and told her that I am grateful, and that, in her own way, her sister is too.
I’m here, Katie.
And I get. I swear, I get it.
I’m sorry I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes, baby, but I see you. Please believe that I really, truly see you.
I understand how hard you work and how little gratitude you see.
But it’s there, my love.
It’s always there.
It’s there in the quiet time we spend in your room. It’s there in the barely controlled chaos of the kitchen. It’s there in the stolen hugs and the kissing hands and the perfume that you steal from my neck before I leave for work every morning. It’s there over the phone line when I call to say that I’m on my way home and I tell you that I love you over and over (and over) again.
It’s always there.
I’m going to try to stop and point it out a whole lot more from now on, baby. But I promise you, even when you don’t see it, it’s there.
I love you more than anything in this world, my little love. More than the moon and the stars and everything in between. I love you so much that sometimes it threatens to break me in two.
And every night – every single night – I go to bed praying that that can be enough.
I see you.
And I’m sorry.