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This

This is parenthood. This is motherhood.

This, right here, this moment I’m having in the three AM of my soul.

This aching, stretching, bending, breaking. This impossible desire to do everything just so. So he won’t question himself. So she won’t run wild. So he will learn self control. So she will guard her heart. So they will hold their tongues, stand their ground, be patient, compassionate, well-read, ready. So that they might better in every way that I am worse.

*

On the the last flight home this week, I sat beside an older couple who smiled warmly at our children. When do they go back to school? They asked. Because, that’s what you do this time of year. You ask when kids go back to school. You ask if they’re excited.

Oh, we’re starting next week, at home. I replied, trying out the news on a stranger for the first time. They both smiled, warmer still. Said lots of Good for you, good for you, Oh, how good for you. And nodded.

So, you’re a trained teacher? Is that what you went to school for?

This was them, making conversation.

This was them, poking my insecurities.

*

I found Lila yesterday, sitting in her bedroom, a treasure box opened beside her and the plastic tag with her name and school bus number from kindergarten in her palms. She was trying to figure out how to attach it to her backpack, like a charm, like her friend at school had done. Last year. When she went to school.

This is her, processing.

This is her, punching me in the emotional gut.

*

This is me, this morning. Coffee in hand, Evaline emptying the contents of a board game on the floor beside me. My to-do list hanging. Waiting. Growing longer, one game piece at a time.

I stayed up late last night, researching organizational ideas, (but avoiding Pinterest after images of pristine desks and home-classroom spaces made me nearly hyperventilate, made me feel sufficiently inadequate.)

Lila came in, her security scarf (yes, scarf, not blanket) in hand, her eyes open but not awake. I closed down the laptop and welcomed her into the bed beside my sleeping husband.

And I sat there, with the light on and my eyes on the foot of the bed. I thought of all of the things I want my children to know. Not math and science and English, but really know. Take to heart, grow with them, shape them.

Then I looked down at Lila as she curled her knees up, just so. And I realized, I don’t need a degree to do this.

Slumber

This is parenthood. This is motherhood.

This is me, only wanting the best for these children and believing I am capable to provide.

This is me, taking a moment to believe in myself the very same way I hope they will one day as well.

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