Oh my dear. Now we are getting down to something we can talk about.

I apologized over and over to her at the beginning, in letters (which she may or may not have read) and e-mails. I even sent a gift through her brother with a letter of apology in the early years. These were the only ways I had to communicate with her, and then she stopped answering my emails. I never got any response.

I will admit that in those early apologies I was not as clear about what my role in all this was, because I truly always tried to be the best mother I could be. But I was open to hearing her understanding of what I had done. As I have worked to process, I have begun to see more clearly ways that I failed her.

I did not feel that her sister’s wedding was the place to address that with her. I didn’t feel that her Nana’s birthday party was the place, either. Those are the only two times I have seen her in 9 years. Because I see myself more clearly now, I have again written her a letter outlining all the ways I recognize I failed and expressing my sorrow for doing so. It will remain to be seen whether she reads it and responds. Since I have no other way to be in contact with her, it is all I can do.

And just as a side note, here is how I see the difference between self-acquittal and self-forgiveness.

Acquittal means to be found innocent of any wrongdoing. I am definitely not innocent of wrongdoing.

Forgiveness means to stop holding one’s faults and wrongdoings against them.

I did make mistakes, but I have stopped beating myself bloody for them. I am not acquitting myself — as though I didn’t do anything wrong. I am simply working every day to forgive myself, knowing that, as Maya Angelou said, I did the best I could until I knew better, and now that I know better I can do better. All I can do is say “I’m sorry.” The rest is up to her.

I hope that one day you will hear those magic words from your mother.

I wish you only the best.

Human learning to be human. Writing in hopes of getting there.

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