1 I love you. I'm lousy at showing it sometimes, and I screw up, and I am not always as kind as I ought to be, and sometimes you think I want you to be unhappy, but that is because I sometimes fail at mothering, and I do, really, love you so much that sometimes I might explode or spontaneously turn into a flying unicorn from the sheer awesomeness of you.
2 My failures are not your fault. When you are older, like about forty, I will tell you more about the things in my life that led to some of my failures, but for now, let me make clear that although a hell of a lot of them are not my fault (truly, not my fault), they are even more not your fault.
3 I am sorry for failing you. I try not to.
4 I sometimes feel like I have lived several lives in one. I want to make sure to sit you down at some point and tell you all about at least six of them - the rural living, the inner-city living, waiting on tables and publishing and IT and cottage industry. I want to take you to where I met archaeology and fresh fish and make absolutely certain you never, ever find out I climbed the cliffs I climbed, because that was incredibly stupid. Maybe I can tell you about some of my friends and partners too. I am so deeply moved that you are all three witnesses to my discovery of painting that I can't possibly explain it because I'll get tearstains all over the internet.
5 I want you to know that I have been incredibly stupid and reckless in my life and some of my stupidities have led to wonderful, life-enhancing, glorious things, and some haven't. (And in case that seems ambiguous, let me add that I have never, ever become pregnant by accident, so don't worry that you weren't wanted, even if you're reading this because you think nobody will ever understand you and everyone hates you. I am thrilled to have you in my life, and I congratulate myself on my brilliance for making you pretty regularly). So sometimes it's worth doing silly things, especially if they're funny or involve really lovely people or good food, but it's always good to make sure you have somewhere to live and enough to eat first. And making small mistakes can help to avoid big ones.
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