My mom, sister and I were sitting around the kitchen table on a summer afternoon. I was around 14, my lanky elbows resting on the table, while my sister’s braided head barely peaked above the table. I can’t remember the specifics of the conversation we were having; the topic of how it started and the reason as to why, but what I do remember is what my mom said to me. A set of words uttered out of her mouth that tore through my inner being. Words that no parent should say, and no daughter, should hear.
You’re not a real daughter.
It stung. I had a deep yearning to be accepted, to feel like I belonged, to know that I was part of a family forever. Adoption made all of these a struggle and those words seemed to equate to achieving these desires to something impossible. It felt as if, no matter what, I would never be good enough to be considered a daughter. A real daughter.
The weight of those words still sneak up on me, I can still feel the punch. But I’ve also learned forgiveness and I’ve learned to hold onto it’s power. Power over hate and anger and a strength to rise above and acknowledge love. I’ve had to continue to hold onto truth within my being, forgiving my mom for saying those words, knowing that they hold no pull in my worthiness of being loved and accepted.
People will say and do things to us that hurt. We will be treated unfairly and find ourselves in situations that feel anything but pleasant. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we condone what was done to us, it means that we no longer let that anger and sadness take up that space in our minds. Forgiveness is the ability to see the humanity we all share, amidst all of our faults. It doesn’t erase the hurt and it doesn’t mean we forget, but forgiveness has the power to not let those hurts hold us down and stop us from achieving what we put our minds too.
So, to my mother, I forgive you. I no longer hold the anger in my heart that I did for so many years. I know we’ve all made mistakes, and I’m chalking up those words to one of yours. With my head held high, and my heart open, I walk through this life knowing that I am a daughter. Loved. Cherished. Wanted and accepted.
I am a real daughter.