My boy comes to visit me in my writing spot. The small one. He wants my help again. Again and again and again. I send him on a mission and he is happy to oblige. Skip, skip, skip. He never does things by halves. Everything he does is fueled by a passion and curiosity that only a new human being can fathom.
How does one forget? How did I forget? I wonder this and I wonder at him as his small curved head haloed in blond disappears around the corner of my room. So many hours throughout the day I think, I cannot be a mother anymore. It is too hard. And then life comes bouncing at me from three angles, smiling, curly-haired, sticky-faced and oh so very vocal. The most vocal of vocals. Even speaking is a full-hearted exercise for them. And I mother them anyway, imperfectly, anxiously, and with the terror that accompanies the responsibility.
At night I often cry. Not because I am overwhelmed. When I am overwhelmed I just clam up and sink into myself and hope that somehow the code will be cracked so we can all learn telepathy because it’s too hard for me to speak.
No, I cry because I look at my baby girl who is not a baby girl anymore. I see her blossoming, radiant, full of life and discovery and fresh young love for her peers. I see the baby she was and the woman she’ll become and life feels fleeting. I am going to lose her. I don’t know when. It depends on whether she goes to college locally or not, I guess? She is not quite eight years old. I have a good decade at the very least. But it still hurts like I’ve lost a part of her already.
I cry because time is gone and I cannot get it back.
I cry because I can’t imagine there ever being a future where I don’t wake up to her voice and her smile because she is singing and spreading joy somewhere else; somewhere I can’t reach. I feel the loss heavily, and curse myself for being so sentimental and melancholy.
Why can’t I just pull myself together? Why am I that mother who wakes up a half dozen times and goes to my children’s room to make sure they are still breathing? My daughter’s lungs have served her well for close to 8 years and my older son’s for 5; what cause could I possibly have to worry it will change? But I check on them anyway. I will not go back to sleep until I do. I have not really known what it is to rest fully since the day I claimed the word “mother.” And I wonder if I ever will again?
Words written during the November 22nd write-in with Story Sessions Community, the writers' group connected to the Story 101 e-course I took this past summer.