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it will be crooked
reading between life's messy lines.
Today, I don't hear her sneak into my bed. Just two little popsicles, maybe hands, clasp my face. She slides inside the covers, and all she wants is a moment of rest. Rest with me, not alone in her big girl bed. Ever since we changed her sleeping arrangements, we've become a wake-up-at-dawn household. No alarm needed when you have the east-facing window, the one right in front of her new toddler bed. She always gets up first. I could get mad, but that's never the case. Today she whispers, "Happy birthday, mamá, it's your day today." And I don't need to sleep past this moment. I'm stirred awake by the thought of writing this paragraph. So clear a concept it makes me grin.
I'm an over-thinker. I spend more time pondering how to start this thing or the other, than doing the actual thing. My first YouTube video, a new year, the summer, any given project. All things to categorize, plan and chart meticulously. But today, on my 35th year of life, the answer comes mid-sleep. It arrives evident in her chilly little hands, like an offering from the universe, saying, "Look at me! At you! Remember last year?" Yes, I do. I woke up crying for a week, maybe longer, leading up to 34. Feeling scared, tired, and raw inside, like a baby that needed her mama, and I did. Truth be told, that has been the case for the last 10 years. Every birthday spent in sorrow. Taking unfruitful stock of my year. Another September 7th passed without becoming the new persona I told myself I would be.
There's so much online on parents telling you how hard it is to parent. And it is. I won't lie to you. The past 3 years have tested my resilience, my marriage, my sanity. But as someone who has been sharing her motherhood journey here from the start, I can tell you this: it's easy to put into words all the things left undone. To focus on the hardships from the day before or the challenges that lay ahead. The struggle to keep things in order, just so. So we don't feel crooked as we relinquish control of our days, our lives.
It's easy to put into words all the things left undone. To focus on the hardships from the day before or the challenges that lay ahead. The struggle to keep things in order, just so. So we don't feel crooked as we relinquish control of our days, our lives.
And still, there's so much good to share. Even if hard to articulate, we sense it inside, how parenting is changing us for the better. How we are slowly turning into someone selfless. With no need to make yourself round to fit into the thin/beautiful/successful/popular hole. No performance needed. Just showing up as you are. With bed hair, bad breath, sticky eyelids. All that's required of you is to lift the covers, welcome her into your arms to share your last minutes of sleep. No alarm clock, no order or pattern. In return she'll warm up your heart first thing in the morning. And make you blow 35 candles with no cake in sight. There is no rush to check your phone and see if someone remembered your day. No expensive gifts or parties. Just these new words in your head. Words that jolt you awake because you are so inspired today. You know you are only here to hear her sing "Happy birthday" in your ear before you even know what day it is. Today being present is the present you've always hoped for. You thank her for the gift she extends to you anyway. But really you are grateful to her for showing you how wonder and joy live in the now. And you cherish the funny bow she placed on top of the craft she made last night. It looks a little crooked. But it is yours.
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