Mothers will do anything for our children.
We will spend sleepless nights worrying about them — will agonize over their health and safety. We will stumble out of a warm bed at 2 AM to make sure our child is still breathing. We will see a story on the news about a child our child’s age being kidnapped and will sob uncontrollably for that mother — for we know her world, her entire being, will never, ever be the same. We will worry about the world they are growing up in — about how to explain the horrific things people do to each other and how to guarantee, despite this, our children will always seek out the best in others.
We will change our bodies for our kids. We will watch as our belly stretches and grows, never to return to its original form. Some days we will forego runs and gym classes to stay in bed and snuggle with them a little while longer, breathing in the smell of their bodies. Mothers will mourn our pre-pregnancy bodies and then stand in awe of the body that gave life to beautiful, healthy children.
Mothers will forego sleep for our kids. We will spend countless hours playing hide and seek and Candyland. We will carry them mid-temper tantrum out of our favorite restaurant before we have even ordered. We will spend hours answering questions like, “What is the cat’s middle name?” and listening to stories that seem to go on forever. Mothers will act interested even though we would rather finish the last page of our book — a book we have been trying to get through for what feels like an eternity.
We will sacrifice vacations and that new black dress we’ve had our eye on so our kids can play hockey or go to sleep-away camp. We will eat dinner in our cars and sit night after night on the sidelines cheering them on. We will celebrate their touchdowns. When our child cries because they don’t make the team, we will lie down and cry with them, the disappointment as tangible as if it were happening to us.
Mothers will tell our children they are smart. And their opinion matters. We will tell them how we feel about everything from politics to music to dishwasher detergent. We will try to impress upon them the importance of travel, for it teaches them how insignificant and minuscule their problems are in the big picture; the significance of choosing the right life partner, for it impacts every single choice they will make for the rest of their life. Then we will step back and watch as our kids form their own opinions and beliefs. And we will try with all our might to give them room to make mistakes. And when our kids say they are sorry, we will forgive them without conditions. We will tell them they can really be anything they want to be if they are passionate enough and put in the work.
Mothers will, for the rest of our lives, wear our heart on our sleeves. We will bend without breaking. We will scream and cry because we need a break from our babies and then miss them as soon as we are gone. We will realize that all of the worry and sacrifice and time was worth it. We will come to understand that all of the things we’ve done for them doesn’t compare to what they have done for us.