I watch you, my girl. Everyday, twenty-four hours a day for the last fourteen months, my eyes have been on you, asleep or awake. The best moments are early in the morning, when you are nuzzled up so close to me. Your father is usually up and getting ready for work and three-quarters of the bed is now available for the taking, yet there you are, curled into me. I don’t mind though, because I know you won’t curl into me forever. I stare at your face, and in this dim morning light I can still catch glimpses of the little baby I brought home fourteen months ago. Your features are so soft, so relaxed, and you’re my little tiny newborn all over again.
As much as it hurts my heart to say this, I know you aren’t going to love me like this forever. You are getting bigger, more adventurous, you don’t need your momma to carry you everywhere like you used to. There are even moments now that you push me away, as if to say, “Mom, stopppp it!”. But you always come back to me, because for now I am still your safe place. The person who picks you up when you fall, kisses your little fingers when they get stuck in the kitchen drawer, and holds you when you’re just not having a good day in this big world.
I know that with every passing day, you get closer and closer to your independence. Sure, I know there are still some good years ahead; where it is just me and you. But eventually, you will start school and your life will be filled with homework, friends, and extracurriculars. You won’t need me to pick you up when you fall, and you will roll your eyes at me for wanting to kiss your boo-boo’s. The worst part is, I know that you will hit the age in which we all go through; where you will blame me and your father for whatever bad day you might be having. I will have to tell you “no” more times than I can say “yes”, and when I am too weak to do it, your father will have to enforce it. You will ask to do things that we just won’t allow, and you will mutter under your breath “When I have kids, I am not going to be as strict as my parents are with me”.
Yes, yes…those days are ahead of us too. You will neither appreciate nor understand why your crazy mother needs to tell you “I love you” a thousand times a day, or why she protects you from things that you think are innocent enough at the time.
Then, one day, one day you are going to be like me. You’re going to be staring at your little baby, my grandson or granddaughter, and your heart will be filled with a love so strong and so unconditional that in that moment it will truly sink in to you how much you were loved all along. The second thing you will realize is that you have to protect that love, you will inherently know that you must protect this living embodiment of your heart no matter what the cost.
But, I am getting ahead of myself here, you’re just now starting to master the art of walking. Instead of dreading what is the certain future of all parent-child relationships, I will relish in this deep and loving connection we share now because I know you won’t need me like this forever. It is this foundation that we’re building, that will carry me through those not so pleasant moments of parenthood. When it gets hard, I will remember my little sleeping baby, curled into me, with those long soft lashes that she got from her father, and the smile in her sleep that she got from me.
On this Mother’s Day, I am grateful for all you have given me, and for all that is to come. No matter what happens in my life, you will forever be my greatest and most cherished accomplishment.
I love you baby.