Hey mama, I know you cried today.
The tears escaped your eyes and slid down your cheeks briefly before you wiped them away. Your baby was crying and nothing was soothing her, and you were so bone-tired. You didn’t realize your own capacity for love and heartache.
Your eyes welled up when he took his first steps. The joy you feel watching him grow is unexplainable. He took those steps toward you. He was aiming for your arms, that safe place he’s come to trust and love. On wobbly legs, he made it.
When you dropped her off at school today, you went to your car and sobbed. It’s her first day. The emotions swirling in you felt like a major storm was brewing. She was anxious at first, so you stood in the hallway just outside waiting with bated breath. When you peeked in before you left, she looked okay. Thank goodness, she looked okay.
When he came home from school and told you about being humiliated that day, you held him in your arms and held back the tears. Again, you felt so helpless because you cannot fix this broken world for him. He has to navigate it, and that means he will take some hits. You stay strong so that he can lean on you for support.
You cried the day she broke down over a broken heart.
You cried tears of joy when he achieved a goal.
You cried tears of heartache when he was diagnosed.
You cried when she found her way.
You cried when you thought you’d lost him.
You cried on her first day of high school.
You cried the first time he borrowed the car.
You cried when you dropped her off at college.
You cried standing in his now-empty room.
But mama, I know you smiled today, too.
You smiled when they ran that cold wand over your belly and you heard the fast beat of a tiny heart. This miracle you’d been waiting for now has an image, and it looks like a bean.
You smiled the first time you held her, and her eyes met yours for the first time. The joy and love was indescribable that day. You knew you’d never be the same, and you were right. Your heart was now on the outside.
You smiled when he ran to you, throwing his tiny arms around your neck. You scooped him up and swung him around, and his laughter sounded like magic. It made all the world’s problems melt away, and your heart was filled to the brim.
You smiled when she came from school chattering about her day, and relief flooded you as the fears and anxieties of what her first day would hold were released. This was a new adventure for her, and for you, mama. The first small taste of letting go. How’d it happen so soon?
You smiled when he slid into home base.
You smiled when the doctor said she’d be alright.
You smiled when he hugged you and your head rested comfortably on his shoulder.
You smiled every time she pulled into the driveway safely.
You smiled when he threw his graduation cap in the air.
You smiled when she told you she’d found the one.
You smiled when you hung up the phone just after he said, “I love you, mom.”
Motherhood. Nothing brings us more elated joy or crushing heartache. Nothing is so wonderful and daunting, heart-breaking and soul-lifting, taxing and exhilarating as raising a child. You will cry more tears along this journey than you ever thought your body could produce, and you’ll develop lines at the corners of your mouth from all the smiles and laughter. Your capacity for joy and sorrow will be fully explored as you continue this dance of loving and letting go.
The good news is, you’re up for it. You can handle every up and down, every tear and every grin, because you were chosen for it. You being her mama is not an accident.
So, even on the very hardest of days, when you’ve cried your makeup off and no one even knows your sorrow, I hope you remember that it’s temporary.
That’s the thing about motherhood. It’s all in passing. The hard days and the beautiful ones. Your child’s fingerprints will one day no longer be on your mirrors, but they’ll always be on your heart. Slow down, mama. Catch a breath. Take it all in. This is the hardest and most wonderful thing you’ll ever do.
Wipe your tears. A brighter day is coming.