The One with the Same Arms

Our arms are the same, you and I.

We have both held her.

We have fed her.

We have embraced her.

We both love her.

Today, we are both her mother.

When did things shift for you? When did the darkness of the night bleed into the day? When did addiction pull you under? When did survival kick in? Were you her age? Was no one there to fight for you?

Whole people don’t hurt kids. And at times none of us are whole. Chrystal Smith says, “We are all one mistake away from a crisisWhat many fail to see is that these parents who are guilty of unthinkable abuse and neglect are often times the very children we failed to protect a generation ago.”

We are about the same age, you and I. How were you raised? What were you exposed to? Who didn’t protect you? When did the cycle start?

If it’s true for me, it has to be true for you too. If I bear God’s image and light then this is also within you. If God’s love is unconditional for me, it has to be the same for you. When did hope leave your eyes?

I don’t judge you, I hurt for you. I hurt for the choices that must have lead you here and for the daughter I have that doesn’t share my DNA, and the day she learns how this all came to be. I hurt for the triggers that must still be inside her subconsciously…I thank God they aren’t memories. I wonder if the same triggers are inside you. Is that how we all got here?

Our arms are different, you and I.

Yours have marks on them.

Mine has a tattoo that reads hope.

Our arms made choices that separated us.

Yours had to let go of her.

Mine are still holding her.

I hope I’m strong enough to wrap my arms around yours someday and to speak to the little girl inside your heart that must have been silenced so many years ago. I hope I can allow our daughter to embrace you with her arms too. I hope I can remember that grace is messy and it’s never us vs. them.

I’m not strong enough yet.

I hope I get there, for her sake, for my sake, and for yours too.

One thing I do know…the cycle stops with her. My heart breaks that it didn’t stop with you sooner. I know it still can.

Because today, we are both her mother.


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