What Charlie Has Taught Me in 7 Years

I remember when Torrence and I brought Charlie home from the hospital. My mom, my sister, and my nephew were there to greet us with hugs and kisses, smiles, and a clean house. I was so grateful for that. 

We took Charlie to her brand new room, which I was so proud of. Torrence painted her room with a beautiful gray and white striped accent wall. I had a solid wood dresser painted gray and white with a chevron pattern. Her gray crib went on the accent wall. I had 3 paintings of a zebra, a giraffe, and a panda (wearing a little yellow bow) hanging up that my dear friend, and brilliant artist, Micah painted just for her. The rocking chair was in the corner. The crib had clean sheets and the handmade pinwheel mobile I bought from Etsy was hanging above it. Her clothes were washed and folded and put in their proper place. I was perfect. 

Charlie cried as soon as we entered the room. She was like, nah. LOL!

I had a hard time adjusting to Charlie in the beginning. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right by her. She cried a lot which made me cry a lot. I was trying desperately to breastfeed, but my supply was low. I couldn't figure out her cries, I was exhausted,  I was trying to be this perfect mom right out the gate. I was constantly comparing myself to friends I saw on Facebook who simply adored their kids the moment they saw them. 

That wasn’t me and trying to be something else was doing more harm than good.

One day, I was rocking her in her room. Just talking to her. Suddenly, I started crying hysterically. I was alone and just became overwhelmed with emotion. I looked at her and just started thanking her for loving me exactly as I am. For not judging me for my past mistakes. For making me realize that the best way to be the perfect mom was to be my authentic self. I felt worthy and privileged to be her mother. I had a clean slate. I promised her that I wouldn’t be perfect. I told her wasn’t gonna get most things right, but I promised her that I would always try no matter what.

Those words couldn’t ring more true today. The pride I have for my Charlie is indescribable most times. She’s just kind. Her sweet spirit has taught me how to love even more. She has taught me more about myself than I could have ever done without her. I love harder because of her. I’m more patient because of her. I think deeper. I check myself more than anyone else could. She’s considered in every choice I make, wise or not. She reminds me to be my unapologetic self at all times.

Above all, she is a constant reminder of why I’m here. Of why God spared my life almost 13 years ago. This life is bigger than me. I have front row seats to her life and I’m forever grateful to God for allowing me to share my life with such a special force.

Erica J. Simmons