Are You okay, Mommy?” she said, pressing herself onto the arm of the chair in her room. Through my tear filled eyes, I could see her wild-curly bedhead, standing there in her Peppa Pig pajamas.
“No,” I said with perfect honesty. “Mommy is sad,” my voice cracked.
I was having a moment while watching her play and I felt so helpless because I was weak and in so much pain.. And I kept trying to pray—but all I could do was cry.
And I didn’t want to cry in front of my daughter. Because she is two. And I didn’t want to upset her. But sometimes you just can’t hide how you feel. And so, I sat in that chair that morning, with my face in my hands and cried.
But she kept pressing closer to me, pushing her whole body under my arm, climbing into my lap, and gently wiping the tears from my eyes. And I wanted badly to be alone. I just wanted to think, and pray, and cry. But when you’re a mom, you don’t always get the opportunity to “just cry.” Even when you feel it’s the only thing you are capable of doing.
“Maybe you could sing Mommy a song?” I offered, trying to brighten the mood. She looked at me eagerly. And I expected she would sing me her favorite song by default, “Happy Birthday.” But that morning, I was surprised by a different tune.
Instead, she sang me part of one of the lullabies I always sing to her, which goes:
“Hush little Parker don’t you cry,
Mommy’s gonna sing you a lullaby...”
But she didn’t sing those words; she changed the lyrics. And I didn’t even know she could do that. But she changed the words just for me, and instead sang:
“Hush little mommy don’t you cry,
Parker’s gonna sing you a lullaby...”
I broke down... with my face against her chest. Holding her closer than ever before. And as I felt her heart beating against my face, I just felt so…small.
Just a little Mommy.
I was holding her, but really, it was as if she was holding me. With her warmth. With her tight embrace. With her bright eyes searching my eyes.
“You feel better now?” she asked, eyes wide as saucers. “You feel happy?”
“Yes. Yes,” a smile breaking forth from my face, “Thank you.”
And I realized, at that moment, just how much I needed her. Just how much she comforted me. Not just then, but all the time. Her presence is a constant comfort to me and I didn’t see it until now.
My Sweet Child,
I know I am your Mommy. And it is my job to take care of you and keep you safe. To care for you. And I promise, I always will.
Long before you were born, I knew that you would cry and I would soothe you. But I didn’t know that sometimes when I’d cry, you would soothe me too. I didn’t know when you were just in my womb that the nights I’d hold you late into the night, you would be holding me too. I knew I would hug and kiss you, but I never imagined how it would feel when you would hug and kiss me. I knew my hands would reach for yours, but I never imagined yours reaching for mine. I knew I’d sing you lullabies, but I didn’t know you’d sing them back to me.
I knew you would need me.
But I never imagined how much I would need you.
How much I would need your nearness. Your embrace. Your voice. Even your lullabies.
Because at the end of the day, I’m really just a little Mommy.
And it wasn’t long ago, I was just your size, and saw the world through your eyes.
It still looks so very big to me. And I still get scared. And I still cry.
I thought I knew what it would be like to be a mommy—to be your mommy. I thought I understood the gift, before I opened it. But I didn’t. Because you are a gift that seems to unfold into a thousand more every day.
And I didn’t know until now how much I needed you. But I do. I didn’t realize the comfort you bring me–and have always brought me since the day you were born. For so long, I thought you needed me close to you but I really think I need you close to me too.
I will always be your Mommy. But in case I don’t always let you see.... I need you just as much as you need me.