Today wasn’t a good one. I can’t and shouldn’t measure my mothering skills by what happens in one day or even one moment. However, I can’t help but feel I’ve let them down. Again.
I know tomorrow I will wake up and all the pain of today will have lost its luster. The tears we cried a memory getting fainter as the days go on.
But tonight I hurt.
My heart breaks for the pain you felt today. The pain WE felt today.
When I saw you both all packed up and ready to go ride bikes, I could tell there was more.
I felt it.
You said the food you packed was in case you got hungry. But I saw the look you gave each other and I knew it.
I let you go anyway.
I stood at the window and watched you go. I prayed you’d be safe and knew you’d come back.
I didn’t really know. Couldn’t really know what you’d been plotting while you sat on the swing last night together. I thought it was something like hunting for fairies or looking for magic doors.
When you came back less than 10 minutes later, hot and defeated, I could sense it was so much more.
You both started crying within seconds of coming through the door and my heart dropped. It took some time to get it out of you. The plan. The secret. The wish.
Your plan is adorable and heartbreaking at the same time. Ride your bikes to Pet Smart. You’d wave at a stranger, pretending they are your parent, fool the staff. You’d adopt a kitten and a puppy. Ride home with the pets in your backpacks. You’d keep your little babies in the playhouse in the backyard. You’d feed and care for them when we aren’t looking.
You’d have the pets you so long for.
My heart breaks.
I hold you both as your tears flow and mine join in with yours.
You’re probably wondering why I don’t run out and buy seventeen kittens and puppies.
I want to.
My husband is allergic to cats and refuses to get a dog. Its been an ongoing topic of discussion and every few months it rears its painful head again.
I support him in front of them, but argue with him about it frequently. His list of reasons is short, but he will not budge.
My heart breaks.
We leave the house and go shopping to break the moment. I try and distract with humor, new books and a shared cookie.
It helps for the moment.
Later in the day though, it surfaces again. More tears. This time rage and anger. You fight with each other and get violent. You hit me. Hit each other. You scratch me. You tell me I am awful. You shake with frustration.
I listen. I hold you. I talk to you.
We talk about better ways to vent our anger so it doesn’t hurt others. You ask why I’m crying too, and I tell you I hurt when you do.
You cry more and I apologize.
I should not have cried.
I should be stronger.
We make it to the end of the day and when daddy comes home we try and hold it together. I want to rage and scream and scratch, like you. I want to make him feel the pain you do.
Of course I don’t.
Someday you will see I am protecting you. Marriage isn’t easy and being an adult is about compromises and sacrifice.
Or maybe you will be in therapy someday telling them you wished your mother were a stronger person.
I don’t know.
We snuggled before bedtime and I told you I loved you more than you could ever imagine. I read to you and kissed you. Tomorrow will be a better day, I say. Tomorrow we will do something fun.
You look up at me with wounded eyes and I want to cry again.
Sometimes being a mother breaks my heart.