Happy Friday + Randomness

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!


31 thoughts on “Happy Friday + Randomness

  1. Listened to the podcast – it’s great to put a voice to all your words I read! You sound so different to what I imagined 🙂

    1. 🙂 I’ve had the misfortune of hearing my voice played back to me all too often (I used to do a lot of training and had to record some stuff), so I’m not a huge fan of how I sound. Isn’t it funny how people never sound quite the way you expect them to?

  2. thank you – so needed to hear this today. between fighting with a four year old and tantrums from a two year old it has been a long hard day as a mum. so thanks for reminding me that sometimes i can be more than just the officer in charge.

    1. From one mother to another, I’m with you Sarah! What blows me away is how the meltdowns can quickly evaporate into pure sweetness. I get discombobulated!

  3. Sanae, I just listened to your postcast. It was really nice to hear you and learn more about you. As much as I had wanted to read your blog from the beginning – ha, I just haven’t done that. So the podcast was a great to hear about your adventures teaching in Japan!

    Have a lovely Mother’s Day!

    ps I still feel choked at the “I’m so proud of you Mommy” bit! The best!

    1. I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day too, Melissa! Gah, that part where K whispers those words kill me every time I talk about it!!

  4. I was just thinking the other day after reading about your Sunday book party, that we might get to see a video clip of you at the book shop signing books and reading part of it, and then we get this interview today. It doesn’t get any more real. Now I’m thinking out loud….. a world book tour? 😀
    Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. A world book tour would be awesome (as long as it doesn’t come out of my own budget…sadly, that would be the only way it would happen)! I just might have a video, but I don’t think it’ll be what you expect ;-). Thank you, Jing!

  5. I listened to the podcast, you were great don’t worry! I loved hearing K’s reaction to your book, it made me cry!

    1. Aw, thank you Karen! That disconnect between how I think I sound and how I actually do is always so jarring, I try to avoid it when I can. Plus, it makes me feel weird to listen to myself ;-). Isn’t K just the best? I tell you, giving birth to her was the most magical thing that ever happened to me.

  6. This was just perfect for me today. I hate to admit it, but I have been hating being a mom lately and have been so frustrated with how I can’t seem to do any of it right and am angry at my kids all the time. You put a bit of perspective on mothering for me. I don’t feel so alone anymore. I might not be my best all the time, but I’m not a terrible mom, and I will be okay. This is just a difficult time, difficult ages and I’m tired. It will pass. Thank you, Sanae.

    1. I hear you, Amber! Sometimes motherhood feels like a monster test that I can never prepare for. I may not make the grade all the time, but the amazing part, I think, is that we’re given a chance to re-take the test over and over again until we (hopefully) get better at it.

  7. It is a lovely podcast! And I am so with you, mothering a nine-year-old is hard! I have never doubted in myself as much. And I had no idea it was possible to be so wrong in her eyes so many times during even just one day. At least the happy high points are really happy. Hopefully shortly upcoming ten will be better!

    1. Oh no! Mine is still eight! She’s a precocious eight-year-old, though, so I’m hoping nine will be a little less charged. At least until I re-fuel and get better prepared for the teen years! 🙂 Thank you for listening to the podcast!

  8. Beautiful Sanae! Mother is hard. And most of the time I feel completely incompetent! Nice to hear this from another mum. x

    1. I should just start responding to the name “Incompetence”…though there are small nuggets of moments when I think “I got this!” Thanks, Sophie! xoxo

  9. Thank you for the words! feeling similar sometimes. Being a mom has been my hardest job ever! all the time I’m questioning if I’m doing right. I just listened the podcast…what a sweet voice you have, really relaxing and as it is your blog it was your interview, transparent and real! Lots of success in the launch on Sunday and Happy mother’s day to you too!

    1. Thank you, Maria! The launch party was amazing! But now I’m completely drained and need to regroup for a little while. It feels like so many parts are moving at once right now, I’m a little dizzy…More soon!

  10. Best 53 minutes of my weekend!
    Loved listening to your interview and hearing yet more amazing Sanae stories. Also so glad that you made the decision to step away from corporate life has been affirming and literally life-changing, health-wise. You wear many hats, and do “kinda” very well (from the beginning of your interview).
    Hope your weekend celebrating your role as a mother was special and affirming:)

    1. I’m a “Kinda” expert! It was a whirlwind weekend, and I’m still reeling from it, but I’m setting my sights on the end of this week when I think the pace will calm down just a tiny bit :-). I’m so glad you enjoyed the podcast! I thought Nick was such a great listener with good questions. I’ve made him promise me to follow-through with his videocast/video blog idea! 🙂

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