Dear mother, I know I’m not taking care of myself. I know wine is no dinner and the morning is no bedtime. I know I grant an allotment to my fear and my trivial quandaries. Ultimately, I know I’m the one that waters them. I know I allow their poison to seep into my bloodstream. I know that my time is far too precious to taint in this way.

I didn’t expect her to get sick. And really she isn’t even mine to fret after anymore. All of the responsibility and none of the flesh. Dear mother, I find myself wedged in a moment in time in which my reactions are just a split second too late. I am very close to doing better and I fall just a little bit short. Perhaps the glare of the world is more forgiving. Perhaps I am the only one who sees how I snag on these jagged parts of life. But I am losing ground as I stop to catch my breath. I didn’t realize it would be so hard, then. You never told me how often I would have to be ready to fight.

Dear mother, I wish I was doing better. I wish I knew the right things to say all the time. I wish I could be certain in all my actions. I wish I’d stop holding myself back. We’re built for tight rope walking but the bungee is bunched around our middles. None of us ever push back against our restraints. We bow to them. All of us could be doing so much better, if we could remember more often that we succumb to our own venom.

But the world is a landmine of follies. The moment they detonate, the world looks different. We’ll never again see the fields of our youth. Today I stepped just right and the volley dislodged my soul from where it usually sits. But it’s not just the bad, it’s how snuggly it coexists with the good. How easy it is to smile as the snake winds through the grass. How hard it is to remember what it felt like. Dear mother, I’m tired. I am tired of wishing I knew more. I am tired of fighting my restraints. I am tired of having to find new ways to live. I know that I will work my way through this craggy moment in time. I know I’ll forget this feeling. But right now I want to weep for every version of me that I’ve lost, every moment in which my reaction came just a split second too late.

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