I was at the airport one evening—sitting in a restaurant, alone, minding my own business and these two ladies came in and sat at the airport-too-close table right next to mine. It was loud in the restaurant so I went ahead and called my kids. They were getting ready for bed. After a short conversation, I told them I loved them and that I would see them in the morning. I made an annoyingly embarrassing kissy face at them and hung up.And looked up. To two pairs of eyes staring at me. Judging me.
Being a mother means constantly having your heartbroken at the same time as it’s being filled to the brim with so much love for your child. Every day we are bombarded with messages about who to be. As adults, we do better at filtering through those messages (although not always perfectly), but our daughters need to learn how to filter.
Do you remember being lost inside those snuggly baby holding days? Glued to the couch, afraid to disturb that sweet softness beneath your chin. Each tiny breath felt so new, each sigh a moment to cherish. You never wanted to let go. Time raced by. Do you remember the times you just wanted to put the baby down? Your back and chest ached from the pressure of the baby’s head resting on you, always. You heard phantom wails as you frantically showered to scrub multiple days of grime away, and real cries when you finally touched your head to your pillow, fingertips on the bedside lamp. Time slowed.
On a glorious day I ran to Target : ALL.BY.MYSELF!!! What?! It’s like a mom’s dream outing, right?! My husband said, “Take your time, get a Starbucks…” You bet I did not miss out on that chance. I drove my minivan to the mecca listening to Taylor Swift and feeling so carefree. But, that carefree feeling only lasted until my latte was lukewarm and I realized that with the drive time, finding a parking spot, and waiting in line for coffee…
My daughter was in the sixth or seventh grade when she came home from school, upset, because a boy had been snapping her bra. Unbeknownst to me, it wasn’t the first time. It had been happening for weeks. I felt a burn in the bottom of my gut as I listened to her swallow back tears. Not out of fear, but frustration and anger. Her eyes still leak when in a fury.