Last night, I held you.
I held you a little longer than I “should have”. You weren’t sick or scared. There was no crying, no fussing. You were fast asleep. You didn’t need the extra snuggles, but I did. I held you a little longer and I kissed your forehead as your small, relaxed head laid on my shoulder. As I did this, I held onto the feeling that you felt safe and loved in my arms. I hoped in that moment you forgave me for all the ways I had failed you in the 12 hours prior. You see, yesterday morning you woke me a little earlier than usual and your crazy, wild limbs knocked the bottle of extra breastmilk I worked so hard to get an ounce of off the changing table, splattering it all over the floor. I cursed out of sleepy frustration and set you in your crib to clean up the mess when all you needed in that moment was my attention but instead the mess won. I failed you again later that day, when I scrolled mindlessly through Facebook for a few minutes while you entertained yourself with some stacking cups, when I should have been on the floor playing with you. I didn’t teach you anything today and I will probably fail at that many more times over the years. Every day I constantly find something to feel like I failed you on. It’s been this way since birth and even before. I pray that you never know how inadequate I felt being your mother at times. I pray that you grow to be a strong, resilient man despite the passive, self doubting me you have raising you.
Son, please know that sometimes I just need to walk away and I hope that you aren’t scarred by that. I hope you know I walk away to take a breath so you don’t have to see the weak, frightened or frustrated version of me. I walk away only BECAUSE I love you more than I ever knew I was capable of feeling and I need you to only see love.
I’ve come to realize that motherhood is a constant battle of emotions. Needing some time to be alone, yet missing your little ones every second you are gone. I find myself constantly missing the life I had and needing the life I have. It’s a strange, overwhelming world you find yourself in. Most days I feel this is what I was born to be, that I finally found my purpose in life and other days I wonder what the hell I’m doing and if I made the right decision. Motherhood. Ahhhh.
My best friend has been married for 10 years now and they don’t want children. It is a decision that they made because it just doesn’t serve their life. Believe it or not, many people still see this as an odd choice. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked when they will have kids and when I explain that they don’t plan to have any and I get such weird looks. Listen, it is not for everyone and I TOTALLY get it, especially know. So one day several years ago, my best friend asked me why I wanted to have kids. Yup, she totally flipped the script and threw me a curveball. I don’t remember my exact answer but I do remember the basics. I didn’t want kids because that’s just what you do or because it’s the next step in life. You procreate so that you have another generation to pass on your name or your legacy or your genes, whatever. I didn’t even know that I would every find someone at that point to take that step with. My answer was based on my 2 sweet nephews I had at that time. I told her that you have this little person that looks at you and thinks you are the coolest person in the world but more than that. They don’t see all your past mistakes, they just see you and they love you. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. I wanted to have kids so that I could give the world someone better than me. That’s all I want. I want my kids to be better than me. I think that’s all anyone should want. We don’t know need little you and me’s running around. We need better than little you and me’s running around. And that my friend is what motherhood is in a nutshell.
I think we all can learn something about ourselves if we step back and ask ourselves that same question. It doesn’t even have to be about kids, it can be any old thing in life. Why do I want this piece of chocolate cake? Why do I want to be the next CEO of my company? Why do I think blue is my color? Why anything. If we refocus on the why, it should give us a clearer understanding of our purpose and our path. And sometimes all anyone needs is just a little time to refocus.
So today little boy, today I start over and try again.