Before You Roll Your Eyes Daughter

Oh, my girl. If only you could know someday how many times I stare at the video monitor after you’re down for the night.  Your Dad constantly hears me mutter things like, “Is she breathing? Can she reach her puppy buddy? Is that a bug, or just a shadow?!”

That monitor is a permanent accessory for me in the evenings. I love to smile at the silly positions you’re sleeping in and marvel at how long your hair is getting as it falls around your shoulders. Even when I’m ready to sleep, the monitor is right by my bed and will be referred to multiple times before the morning.

It’s 4 am and I just heard you whimper- probably a dirty diaper… Yep, I was right. I got you feeling all warm and comfy again and now I can’t sleep, because I’m debating whether I should go back in and move the clean baby wipe that the monitor showed me I left at the edge of your crib.

Common sense tells me it’ll be fine, that it’s silly to risk waking you for a tiny thing like that. But… what if it gets in your face? What if you lay on it, and it creates a huge wet spot that makes you uncomfortable?

Never mind that you are strong, feisty and way past the risk of SIDS, or that the wipe is probably all dried out by now. These are the worries that seem legitimate at 4 am for a mother, when her greatest source of joy is laying in the next room. *Sigh* Excuse me while I go get that darn wipe. (It was dry and nowhere near you.)

Someday, the things I’ll want to protect you from will be darker and less defined, and checking on you won’t be as simple as going into the next room. You need to understand- I’ve gotten on my hands and knees to scour the floor for danger, but you still managed to find a piece of packing tape, tried to eat it and almost choked. You also wound up with a sharp piece of metal (the center from a hair tie, a type I don’t even buy) and tried to put it in your mouth. I can imagine this list of near escapes will grow with time.  So, you’ll have to forgive me if I’m hesitant to let you go into the world where any kind of unknown danger could be lurking. 

It scares me that I won’t have a monitor screen to stare at for your field trips, or for the interaction with your friends, and I know you’re not going to want me to put a camera on you for your first date. So when I make sure you have a snack, an umbrella, a book to read… when I ask if the girls are being nice to you and want to know what you did when you hung out… when I want to get to know any young man before he takes you somewhere and beg you to text me at some point during your date, please be patient with me. 

I’ve been there. I’ve rolled my eyes at my Mom when she worried about me going to an unfamiliar place, or told me for the 700th time not to do drugs. I often answered her hopeful questions about my day with only a short “fine.” I “knew” I could take care of myself.

What I didn’t know was how big her love was, that a mother’s children are her everything. I couldn’t, because I didn’t know what women have to go through just to earn that often-taken-for-granted-title of “Mom.”

It’s epic, almost of superhero proportions, the metamorphosis we undergo for a child. These long nights of tending to your every need will always stay with me; these dark circles under my eyes are a badge of honor. I’ve evolved from a scared young woman in the hospital, secretly wondering how I could possibly keep such a tiny human safe, to a woman who has learned firsthand what the cliche “mama bear” means.

I would walk through fire for you, literally- I’ve already prepared a detailed fire escape plan complete with a rope ladder and sledge hammer- but if all else would fail in that scenario, I WOULD just walk through that fire to get you.

So please, baby girl. Be patient with me as I slowly shift from taking care of your every need to helping you learn to be independent in every way.  Maybe exchange some of those eye rolls with an occasional hug and an, “I’ll be careful, Mom.”

You are my life’s great work. Let me worry. Let me check up on you. Tell me about your day. Don’t do drugs. And please, call me when you get where you’re going.

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