While there are thousands of books to prepare you for parenthood, everything from sleep to discipline to breastfeeding and beyond, nothing quite prepares you for the vulnerability of motherhood. While your heart grows tenfold to make room for this new tiny little human, the deepest, darkest corners of your mind do as well, opening floodgates of fears and insecurities and highlighting the imperfections of life.
Mom, I understand you now.
I understand the tears when you watched the news, hearing about a mother who lost her child. I understand why reading the last words of “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be” become barely a whisper while a knot formed in your throat.
I understand why you’d stay up in that leather chair ’till 1 AM just making sure I arrived safely home. I understand why we had secret words to text in case I was ever in trouble and needed a way out. I understand why in high school the boy I dated made you so unbelievably mad. I understand why you pestered me about my day, always craving more details. And I understand why, still today, you text me to make sure I get home safe.
It was love. It was always love.
The deeper the love, the wider the emotions. The richer the joys, the greater the fears.
We moms judge, doubt, and second guess ourselves. We judge our own parenting, our style of discipline, and second guess our advice, wondering if it’s good enough, if it will sustain you through the darkest trials. We wonder if we should have found a way to stay home to be with you or perhaps have gone back to work to provide more money.
We fear. Oh how we fear! We have nightmares of not reaching you in time, to save you from countless awful happenings. We fear what we see on the news, and how we would cope if it happened to you. We fear each and every time we step foot into the doctor’s office.
And our hearts yearn. Yearn for a world with no bullying, no childhood cancer, no predators, no racial discrimination, where we didn’t have to worry. Where some nights this mom anxiety wasn’t so overwhelming.
But, it’s worth it.
Every little moment watching you grow, explore, and achieve. The countless little scribbles we collect that to everyone else looks like mashed potatoes on construction paper, but we know it’s a drawing of me and you. We cherish every giggle, every smile, and every “I love you.”
It’s so worth it.
Photography by Haley Kinzie