Dear Beautiful Little Beast (one day you will hate me for calling you that),
You were so excited getting in the car with me this morning, ready to go on another one of our mommy and me adventures together. We know how to have fun together — you and me… from music class… to play room dance parties… to play dates… to errands that we make a game… I adore you little creature, and you know that. You adore me, and I know that too (Most days I know this — cue life with a toddler).
But today was different. Today I dropped you off at Mother’s Day Out, and I left you. I expected to be anxious about this day as I knew you would be anxious too. I expected you to cry, to sob for me. You did. I didn’t expect to cry, to sob for you. I did. I didn’t let you see me, but trust me I ugly cried. My heart crumbled as I secretly waited by your door listening to you scream for me. Every cell in my body dripped with my maternal instinct to grab you and tear you away from any unhappiness.
Did you know, little one, I waited for you in the parking lot for over an hour just to secretly get a glimpse of your little face and make sure it wasn’t as red and puffy as mine?
Did you know I didn’t even go to my home office to work that day? No. Instead, I camped out at the Starbucks across the street trying to distract myself from my thoughts of you with work.
Did you know, in case you needed me, I was only about 200 yards away from you?
Did you know that day I embarrassingly called the school three times to check on you within a 4-hour time span?
Did you know when I do not work, it is because I enjoy you so much and feel like we need this special time together?
Did you know when I do work, it is because I want to help save for your college and be an example to you, and to myself?
Did you know since the day I became a mamma that became my most important job? …and that is coming from your very feminist independent mamma.
Did you know that sometimes I feel so stretched? I am just trying to find that right balance for me, for you, for our family, and this precious balance delicately shifts each moment with the ebbs and flows of life.
Did you know I would do absolutely anything in the entire world for you, and sometimes that requires that we walk separate paths?
Did you know I only want what is best for you but even as your mother I do not always know what is best for you?
Did you know what is best for you will not always be what makes you the happiest in the moment?
So my sweet little beast, I am so sorry I caused you pain today. It kills me to hurt you.
After this first day of school I was not convinced we would make it through. It took some time. It was truly an awful adjustment period for you, and for me. Fast forward three weeks into school. I nervously walked into your classroom, holding my breath, waiting for your teacher to tell me again how much you are struggling. Slowly, my jaw unclenched as I heard the magic words, “She had a REALLY GOOD day today.”
I see pictures of you giggling, playing with sand (What… You hated sand last week!) I see photos of you smiling and dancing with scarfs during music (What… You were always so stoic when we went to our music class together?) I see you growing, flourishing, thriving. I love teaching you and watching you absorb my words and our activities. But now you have other teachers too. You are blossoming in completely different ways, and it feels miraculous to witness.
One day it will be much harder than a few hours a day, a few days a week. One day you will go to REAL school. Then another day, in what will seem like a blink in the eye, you will leave to go to college (or wherever you choose to fly away to beast), and it will be me that will have to be soothed and comforted. So grow… flourish… thrive… but not too fast, my little beast.
And little beast, know this always: My love for you is in your shadow even when we are separated. For we are two, but we are one. So let the day that I secretly waited and watched for you remind you through the years that I will absolutely never leave you, and no physical distance will ever render you truly alone from me, your mother.
With you always and forever,
even when we are not together,