Sometimes you wipe with paper towels or Kleenex, when you can’t get out and buy, or even remember to buy, toilet paper. Sometimes you step on something wet on the floor when walking out of the bathroom and you wonder what it is, but deep down you really know. Sometimes kids are really weird and they say the weirdest things. Sometimes you get really tired of the sound of your own child’s voice and you think you’re going to lose it (and sometimes you do).
Sometimes when you’re totally exhausted and when you’ve finally just fallen asleep, you hear a small voice call “mom” and they can’t find their favorite toy. You have to get up again even though you really, really can’t. Sometimes you get into the biggest argument with your husband over the smallest parenting issues and you wonder where you went wrong. Sometimes you don’t have the patience to have a conversation that seems completely idiotic with your child.
Sometimes you yell, sometimes you slam a door, sometimes you fall into a heap of tears on the bed. Somehow, bedtime always takes way longer than you’d planned or expected. Sometimes when your kid is little, you look at the clock and wonder what the hell you are going to do with them for the next 6, 8 or 10 hours. Sometimes your kid won’t go to sleep or take a nap, or acts like he doesn’t know how to put on his underwear when you know he does, and you lose your mind. Sometimes you think you’re going to explode if you hear the word “mom” or “look” one more time in a day.
Sometimes you don’t think you’re ever going to get out the door. Many times, tiny little things happen throughout the day that you would never even think of, that you couldn’t even make up if you tried, that you would never even expect to happen, and it’s all those little things that drive you up the wall.
Many times you are so exhausted you have no idea how you’re possibly going to physically get up and do it all again the next day. Many times you make mistakes and feel terrible and find yourself apologizing. Many times you don’t know how you’re going to play pretend this or that with your child for one more minute. Many times you just cannot pretend you’re interested in what they’re telling you for another second.
Sometimes you cannot wait until you don’t have to do up the car seat anymore, or wait for them to get in or out of it. Many times you find yourself repeating yourself over and over again to no avail. You think you may as well be talking to no one.
But sometimes they draw a picture with the words “I love you” on it and you hang it on the refrigerator. Sometimes you do Eskimo kisses and butterfly kisses and realize you won’t get to do these that much longer. Many times you get hugs so deep and big they fill up the universe.
Sometimes they sit in the front of the cart at the store, and you just walk around in love with them. Sometimes they ask you why you love them and you can’t even explain it because there are no words. Sometimes you dance in the living room with them in your arms and out of your arms. Sometimes you spend long moments looking out the window with them at the rain and the cars, just being. Sometimes they pick a flower for you and melt your heart. Sometimes you look at them and can’t even imagine how they are growing up so fast and you long and ache for the little years back.
Many times you go into their bedroom at night just to make sure they are OK. Sometimes tears well up inside at just the thought of them growing up or while reading a story aloud that has a particularly potent moment about just this. All the time you just want to squeeze them and love them and hold them forever, but you know that can’t be. And all the time you watch them and guide them and fall down and get up again and love them. All the time you love them.
From the time you know about them, it is a love so big and timeless and close and far and tight and vast, joyous and painful, bittersweet and pure, all encompassing. All the time, forever, you love them. With a heart so big, you love them. With eyes full of tears, you love them. In the heartiest of laughter, you love them. In total joy, you love them. In all the facets or your life and theirs, you love them. You love them until your time is done, and then some.
And as they grow, you might even wish all those small things back—the things that drove you crazy then, earlier in motherhood, you might take them back in a heartbeat. Because that would mean you had more time, more time to be with them when they are little.
Love them every day. Take a deep breath. Forgive yourself. Forget the dishes. Remember their age. Be silly. Have long hugs. Enjoy the moments. Let them take you off-track, go where they want to go, if even for a few minutes, even if it’s past their bedtime. Slow down, be with them, love them.