I’ve written this piece before. In my head, after she’s fallen asleep. In the car, on the way to work. In the hours of the morning I still have to myself.
I didn’t deserve her today. Not the smile she gave me when I walked through the door. Not the tiny arms that ensnared my legs. Not the joy in her voice when she called out my name.
I snapped when she asked for a different snack. I wouldn’t let her sit in my lap because I needed to work. I didn’t read with her when she asked me to, because I needed some time for myself. I barked at her to get out from in front of the television, even though I know she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I asked her to be quiet, even though I stand at her door at night to hear her tell herself stories and I have to catch my breath when she starts to sing. I cut her hug short, even though my body aches for hers in the hours we’re apart.
I didn’t deserve her today. I was too tired. Too selfish. Too busy.
And I was wrong.
My tears are wet and heavy on my pillow, because I miss my girl. Because, today, I missed my girl. Because I didn’t give her what she deserves from me and because today I can’t have back.
So, I’ll cry a little more tonight and tomorrow I’ll be better. Because I want to be. Because I need to be.
Tomorrow will be about long walks and hunting for lady bugs. It’ll be about making up names and stories for the ducks in the pond. It’ll be cookies and milk and an evening watching a movie in her bed under the covers. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow I’ll be better.
Tomorrow, I’ll remember it wasn’t so long ago that an hour apart was too long. And it won’t be long, still, before she doesn’t even notice when I leave. Tomorrow, I’ll pull her close and hug her until she lets go. Tomorrow I’ll let her stories fill my head. I’ll let her smile fill my vision. I’ll let her her tiny frame fill my arms. I’ll let her, all of her, fill my heart.
What do I want for Mother’s Day?
Another chance. Another day to prove to her that she is kind and valuable, important and strong. To show her a love she deserves and a to return an affection that runs unbound.
Tomorrow, won’t be about guilt—it will be about love. About growing up alongside a little soul that reminds me so much of my own.
Tomorrow, I will give my time as a gift and not a penance. Tomorrow, like everyday, she will give me a love I cannot possibly comprehend.
Unless, of course, I compare it to my own.
Flowers are nice. Chocolate is better. But what I need for Mother’s Day is what my child has brought into my life each moment since she arrived.
It’s what makes me a good mother—even on all the days I fail her. She is my reflection. A little mirror, made of love, that shows me all my good and what I need to do better. A reminder daily to love myself, because someone else is watching. A quick glance is all I need to know I’m doing (most) things right.
I hope you get flowers. I hope you get chocolate. I hope you get a good long look in your mirrors. And what I hope the most is that you love what you see.
Because your reflection, Momma, your legacy, your sacrifice, your willingness to grow—it matters.
In fact, it’s beautiful.
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The Memory Keep Series by Liza Dora
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