Tonight you sat on my lap and I combed December tangles and a patch of old honey from your hair. It's not often loose - when you're just past two, it's much easier to keep it in a braid or a bun or a handful of bobby pins. I picked the knots gently, one at a time, until the comb ran clean through hair colored like earth and amber and sunlight. When I straightened the waves with the palm of my hand, they reached nearly to the center of your back. My God, how has the time tricked me so quietly!
The hours I have left as a mother to you alone are waning, sweet girl. We've been sick for a month, it seems, with winter in our bones and a cough in our lungs. You've been needing in so many ways, dragging your tiny body into bed beside me, begging me to rock you, wiping snot on my skin and singing softly in a half-sleep, "Hold me, mommy, hold me."
I have been equal parts exhausted by the demand for my warmth and my arms and my attention, and grateful for it. I am your everything, and you are mine. I am not shared. You are not shared. For now. Not for long.
For months, it seems, I've been writing the same thing in my planner at the beginning of the following day: "Redefine your purpose. Unravel your business ideas. Figure out what matters." And when I find a moment, if I find a moment, I haven't quite figured out what I mean by any of it. I've been feeling (as always) that I need to be more. That I need to leave some kind of profound mark across the world, with my writing, with my work, like a scar in the desert, or a great, white-topped wave out at sea. I blame social media for a seemingly never-ending infection of life-envy. I have been learning to shake it without completely shutting it out.
The last year has taught me a great many things, but most of all, it has shown me how desperately I need absolutely nothing but this. Being her mother. Being yours.
Now, as our days together grow pale with change and the light within my womb glows brighter to illuminate the space between us, I have stumbled upon a great well of contentment in mothering. And oh! how much more joyous we all are when I can be a mother, and allow the pressure to become something greater to release in smoke. Maybe this is the most important thing of all. I am great already. I am enough.
Tonight, I'll flip to the 17th of December in my planner and cross the words from the page. In the margin, I'll write:
My purpose: To be gentle, to be kind, to be patient, to be present; to Mother first, not second. To honor my Self when needed. To be confident in the importance of this.
My business, unraveled: I will continue to write, for my Self first. Money will come, if it may. I will not force my words to pay my bills. I will focus on being at the shop, and improving the shop. That is the place in which my family has planted roots. That is where we will grow, together.
Ahh, what matters.
The tangible, the tangible, the tangible. The things that can be felt on the skin and held in the palms and inhaled, and warmed, and touched. The shop. My community. You, and him, and the new one, and my Self.