Dear Mama,

I was looking through old photos the other day and came across this one.

Looking at myself, I suddenly remembered not just the fear I felt that day but I remembered you laughing at me.

You wanted to take my picture — I was afraid of a butterfly that kept flitting around my head.

But you persisted, and I wanted to yell at you, “Stop it!  I don’t like it!  Make me feel better.”

Instead of putting down the camera and enveloping me in your arms, you laughed at me.

Laughed at my fear.

Laughed at my tears.

Made me feel like I wasn’t worthy of being cared for.

I suppose you never stopped to wonder what I might feel about your actions.  After all, I was only a child.  Likely incapable of feeling very much, at least in your mind.

Oh, I know I sound angry!  I was, and I am right now.  Fear is real, no matter the age.  Fear requires compassion and a sense of protection.  I got neither that day.

I’m not telling you this painful story to seek revenge or to be the mean daughter.  The child in the photo wasn’t allowed to express herself other than through her tears.  Today she is grown and by writing my feelings down and sharing them in this way, I hope to heal this first scar I remember.

Still written with love,