Artifact Motherhood | Feelings From My Childhood

artifact motherhood

Dear Boys,

I had an experience this month that showed me how truly broken I am.  I had just spent a week with my mom, sister, and brother.  We made so many fun memories together.  When our trip was over, I drove two and a half hours alone in the car to get back home to you.  And I cried.  I bawled, actually.  My emotions swept me away and took me completely by surprise.  "Why in the world am I crying so much?"

Then it occurred to me: I left my childhood behind -- including all those unanswered and un-dealt with emotions -- years ago.  I turned 18 and moved away.  I attended college, married your dad, and haven't looked back since.  We've created a wonderful life together, your dad and I, that includes you three boys.  It's a life (and a relationship) I always dreamed of for myself.  I feel so lucky sometimes that I have to pinch myself.

The irony is that I know it can be all swept out from underneath me in an instant.  Your Aunt Lauren feels the same way about her life!  We seem to always be waiting for the other shoe to drop, as if some big ominous trial lies around every good corner.  That mindset right there is a reflection of our childhood.

Don't misunderstand.  I enjoyed a great childhood!  I have many precious memories that include bike rides, and beaches, and road trips to see cousins.

But my childhood was also riddled with emotional trauma.  Memories from my parents' divorce when I was eight years old (years of drama!) clear through the verbal and emotional abuse I endured primarily from my stepdad as a teenager, all came flooding back.

I feel like I need to write those memories out here to justify myself, but I won't.  Some stories are just pretty plain messed up. It all happened though and how I feel is how I feel.

How I feel is what's bothering me though.  Apparently I have not dealt with these feelings yet, just buried them in the past.

And is that okay?  Yeah, I think so.

But what about healing and forgiveness?

I know I've forgiven both my mom and my dad.  That was easy.  I need and want their love as much as they want mine.  I like having a relationship with them.

However, my step dad is whom I harbor anger towards.  He is still hurting people I love.  And I know forgiveness needs to come despite that, but it's going to take some time; lots of time and effort and prayer... that I honestly probably won't pursue because it's just easier to ignore my feelings in the way I've been doing already.

So I guess I'm at a stand still.  Or a cross roads.  I'm not quite sure where to go from here.  Or how.  Maybe I'll figure it out.  Maybe I won't.  And I'm okay with that for now.

But what I want you to know, my baby boys, is that there will inevitably be things about your childhood that you won't like.  Someday you'll grow up and think, "I'm going to do this thing better than my parents did," or "I don't like how my mom handled that."  And that's okay!  Onward and upward.  I want you to do a better job at parenting your own children than I am parenting you.

I also want you to know that I am trying my best.  My love for you is what fuels me to get up and try again, to be a little bit better every day.  You will never understand just how fiercely I love you and how much I want to protect you.

Please forgive me when I fail you.

Life will inevitably throw some curve balls your way.  Sometimes those challenges will come as a result of your choices.  Sometimes challenges will rear their ugly heads despite any fault of your own.

Be brave.  Be resilient.  Don't blame anyone.  Simply pick up the pieces and move on to the task of carrying out your dreams.

You are smart.  You are capable.  You are loved.  You are meant to find joy in this life.

For all the brokenness in the world, Christ somehow makes it okay.  I have hope and peace in my life because of Him.

Please remember.  It's really important that you do.

Love Always,


artifact motherhood

This is Artifact Motherhood; a collaboration of artists from around the world who have come together to share our stories of the joys and struggles of our journey.  Through our writings and visual records, we want to create memories that are more than photographs with dates written on the back.  These are the artifacts we are leaving behind for our children and for generations to come.  Please visit the next artist in our blog circle, Hollie Stokes, and continue through all the artists until you get back to me!


And without further ado: A handful of the silliest pictures of my siblings and me from our recent trip.  All taken with my handy little GoPro.  Wide angle distortion appreciated... because life was never meant to be taken too seriously.


  1. Something I heard my bishop say that's always really stuck with me is: "Forgiveness is not the same as trust." And that sometimes, forgiveness is a loooong process that we have to pray to be able to complete----our heart needs to be willing to EXTEND that forgiveness, but sometimes the process is still a lengthy one. We're all a bit broken from the wounds of our lives, and I know you're doing wonderful things! Hang in there. You'll figure this out, too.

  2. Such a moving post, Jessie. I always find it fascinating to read how childhood shapes how someone parents. My own childhood has shaped how I parent too... Everyone has a back story, including our own parents. Most of all, I loved how you wrote that you too will make mistakes and you hope your boys will improve on it when they become parents. That they won't necessarily "like" parts of their own childhood, and that's okay. I have never thought of it in this way and it's is so very true ... thank you for sharing your heart and getting me to reflect on this journey in a new light.

  3. Thanks for being so open and vulnerable Jessie. Your advice to your boys is so true and I love it :)

  4. Thank you so much for your honesty in this post! I started my artifact motherhood post with this amount of authenticity, but I don't think I was ready to be as open as you were, so I deleted it. You are such an inspiration to me! Thank you so much for sharing these words and photos!


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