Dear Annalynne McCord – If I Was Your Mother

Dear Annalynne McCord,
I’m sorry that I was not your mother.
If I was your mother,
you would have been loved enough to know that a war is not the right time to center yourself.
Held in the kind of esteem that makes you secure enough in yourself to offer real help, instead of attention seeking stunts with an unhealthy dose of internalised misogyny,
and if not, I would have simply switched the wifi off when you said “Mum, I’ve written Vlad a poem.”

If I was your mother,
the world would have gone on as it did,
but your publicist wouldn’t have the headache of you being heartbreakingly empty headed as the bombs rain down and the dreams of children burn.
I cannot imagine the stain, the soul stealing pain of being so blind to the world around you,
and so convinced of your own good virtue that you think a dictator’s madness could have been stopped by the mythical magic of a mother’s love.
The boy became a man, and then became much older, but the world still holds his mother responsible,
holding her over the fire, when by his own admission, she was a better mother than you had been wishing to be,
and still you blame her, instead of him.

If I was your mother, I would tell you what motherhood really is.
It is not a recipe, nor a formula,
there is no true guidebook or manual,
it is just giving and giving and hoping and wishing that the child you gave your heart to will grow up and be a blessing,
but a child is not a dish that you cook,
or a drink that you mix,
or a problem you can fix,
A child is the wayward winds of the Western Isles,
A child is the April showers on the coast of Hastings,
A child is the sweet sunsets watched by tired shepherds…

If you haven’t guessed by now, my dear AnnaLynne, I am trying to make clear that a child is a thing we love but not control,
a child is a storm, a summer breeze, things we wait for, things we watch, but things that will grow, love, hate, decide, laugh, run, cry and wage war, all on their own, eventually.

If I was your mother, you would understand,
we can teach them to be polite,
use the right forks at dinner,
appreciate music and green vegetables,
we can tell them to be kind,
hold them tight,
read them stories,
but time passes,
and our influence fades and they escape from our arms into the world and…

They wage wars,
or they make stupid slam poetry videos on social media,
and if I was your mother,
I would ask you who made the decision to record that nonsense?
Who said those words?
Who simpered on camera for the “lost soul” of a dictator?
Was it you?

If I was your mother,
I would ask you what you expect the corpse of Vladimir Putin’s mother to do.
I would ask you why years after her death,
years after the childhood he says himself was good,
you still throw the blame for a grown man’s crimes at a dead woman’s shoes?
If I was your mother,
I would ask why you look at a grown man and can’t understand that his soul was lost because he threw it away.
If I was your mother,
I would switch off the wifi, and tell you to get some damn perspective.
If I was your mother,
I would take you to a writing class.

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