She asked, “Why do you love me?”
I said, “Because I do.”
She asked, “But why? How can you love me?”
I said, “I just do. I love you because you’re you.”
It took a long time for me to shape those words to answer those questions. My daughter and I…it has been a season of stilted talks between us, weeks of bickerings and posturings and righteous lectures and easily trampled emotions. Not always, of course, but enough times to make me question my ability to parent. I tend to assume she knows intrinsically that I love her unequivocally and unconditionally, and I forget to say the words out loud and focus too much on being right. My little girl is not so little anymore and I watch as a fledgling woman-to-be unfurls her slender neck, gazing uncertainly from her precarious vantage point, fighting to become who she intuits she ought to be.
I worry that she will think my love is subject to performance because the phrases that spill out of my mouth command action and tangible results: put-away-your-shoes-don’t-eat-with-your-mouth-open-have-you-done-your-homework-and-fed-your-frogs-hurry-hurry-hurry. When she was a baby, it was so easy to wrap her up in my unfettered affections, kissing her toes and fingers and cooing at her because she simply existed. It is a fact: I don’t know what I’m doing with this enormous responsibility I’ve been given to raise a human being and I’m swashbuckling haphazardly…
Being a mother is about having my deepest fears and my severest shortcomings reflected back at me.
It is about heartbreak and helplessness.
It is about trying to find the balance between letting go and holding tight, between trusting and guiding.
It is about hoping the biggest hope that the world will be kind and gentle to my baby, my raw and still unformed child.
Being a mother is about surrendering so fully to joy, my heart composes operatic arias of forgiveness
It is about finding courage and facing truths in my weakest moments of doubts
It is about offering up wisdom I didn’t know I possessed, alerted by unbidden instincts
It is about a love so voluminous and vast and boundless, I might soar out of my skin, crack wide open, only to be enveloped whole again.
I didn’t know any of this until I became a mother.
In gratitude to all mothers, would-be-mothers, surrogate mothers, and everyone in a mothering role.
Happy Mother’s Day.
On a vaguely similar note but not really, I was interviewed by Nick of Picturebooking and you can listen to the podcast here. I must admit that I’ve been too scared to listen to it since I’m sure I said things that will be misconstrued or ridiculed, but it’s always good to do things outside of our comfort zone, right? That’s what I’ve been telling myself at least. I talk about my mom and K, and Little Kunoichi, who I consider my second baby, so it seemed appropriate for a mother’s day post.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!