Your tiny hands search my face and remind me how love is truly defined.
When you find the damp tears puddled by the bridge of my nose, you instinctively tighten your hug.
Tears pierce circles through my heart and leave desperate claw prints on my soul.
Tears, because I’m mad at myself for being “short” with you.
An instantaneous, momentous, tired, lame reaction to nothing in particular.
As soon as the words spin off my lips, I immediately want to swallow back my loud, angry voice. I want a redo!
But you don’t notice.
Motherhood is beautifully and dangerously draining. It is love, guilt, self doubt responsibility and exhaustion.
Emotions locked in combat. The conflicting, twisted, essential, perfect irony of motherhood.
How can I be all at once, a teacher, a play-mate, a hero and a muddled mess of self-doubt?
What exactly, I am to do with you?
Keep you safe?
Teach you words, science, music, history, math, humanity, compassion and love?
I am astounded, scared,and humbled by the enormity of my task.
Yet I know, no matter what, you will always be loyal. You will always be mine. A truth that brings relief and gratitude, yet binds me with fear.
Yesterday you turned three.
We climbed mountains and slew dragons.
We traveled to foreign countries and solved puzzles and went into oceans in search of sea horses and mermaids.
We traveled to Mars and counted stars, lived in clouds and zero gravity.
Endless days of play.
Today you want to play some more but I’m too tired.
Sometimes I can’t stand this nonsense of peekaboo, word search, world travel and hide and seek.
Am I a bad playmate?
Am I a bad mother?
Sometimes I can’t stand myself for not wanting to play with you.
Sometimes I can’t stand myself for not being at peace with a moment stolen for just me.
Motherhood is love and guilt.
Why don’t I just play?
Your tiny voice begs.
I fall asleep on the couch.
You are not bothered.
You do not notice.
I wake with your warm breath on my ear and your tiny arms wrapped around my head—asleep beside me.
You gave up on play.
I feel sad, guilty, ill equipped for this motherhood thing.
You’re not mad at all. There are no signs of disappointments or betrayals.
You do not notice.
You never do.
Your heart knows only light. You don’t hold judgments, or guilt or dark—only joy.
You see only beauty and trust in me.
And I feel ashamed because I know my inadequacies intimately.
But you do not notice them.
Each day I’m plagued with possibilities of missed opportunities with you.
Did I miss a moment to teach you?
Did I miss a moment of laughter?
Did I steal a moment away from play?
Was I too tired?
Did I raise my voice too much?
Did I leave you alone too long?
You do not notice.
Instead you show me that I teach you plenty.
Each time I hold you.
Each time I guide you.
Each time I lead you.
Each time I reassure you.
Each time I lift you.
Each time I soothe you.
Your brilliant light assures me it’s okay.
It’s enough, what I do.
Trust my decisions.
I’ve learned that it will always feel dizzy, immense, this crazy love for you I hold. I will be in love with you forever, to the moon and back. But it will never be enough for me.
It’s enough for you.
I’ve learned that mothering is a beautiful, minuscule moment, a fleeting dream I must breath in.
I’ve learned when you love like this, it’s nearly impossible to exclude fear from the equation. I will question every single choice I make and reread every chapter ended.
And I won’t stop,
Because I’m your mother.
And it’s okay.
You teach me every day that it’s okay.
We are okay.
Author: Jeana Sager
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
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