that two syllable word

5:27 PM

My eyes are closed but I can feel the sunlight on my lids. And I hear that familiar, sleepy "mamaaa" emanating from the nursery. My heart melts. The door opens and soon our bed is full of tiny feet and dimpled hands. A diaper that needs to be changed, a hungry belly in need of cheerios and giggles. I'll shuffle downstairs, wiping the sleep from my eyes and like a reflex fill two bowls with the carb laden rings. Back upstairs I go, the cheerios ringing in the morning in the white ceramic bowls. The day begins.
There will be work that needs to be done, fingers pounding at a keyboard. Laundry to be washed, dried and folded. Meals to be cooked. Errands to be ran. There will be timeouts and naps and playtime and "mama can you read this book for me." There will be tears and fighting over something completely innocuous like a straw or empty box of wipes. I'll probably lose my temper at some point and someone will cry (most likely around witching hour or between 4 and 6 pm). Then it's dinner and baths and a few bedtime stories. Kisses goodnight and then the much awaited "lay on the bed while sighing loudly and watching the ceiling fan." Decompress. Exhale.
And sometimes it feels like all you do is give and give and give. Children this young don't really "support" you, they're not your shoulder to cry on and they don't often give great advice save for those rare moments when your three and a half year old tells you "mama it's nice when you spray pefume on your face." And perhaps the reason for the lack of social media tributes and four page letters is because it's nearly impossible to pin down with words what it is that children do you for you. Because it's not of this earth... It's magic. It's fairy dust. It's something you try and grab hold of and yet it always slips through your fingers...
How to explain to someone how that two syllable word - mama, can heal more quickly and effectively than years of therapy? How to describe what it feels like when you're sitting on the sofa and your daughter brushes the hair from your face and lays her head on your shoulder? How to explain the inner strength that manifests itself so potently from the first moment you laid hands on your firstborn? Strength you never even imagined was bottled up inside you all this time. How to verbalize the way you can feel so many powerful emotions from one glance at your child? They are wind, fire, water and earth. And yet they feel ethereal too, as if their mysterious little minds are always somewhere other than this planet. They are a hurricane and a calm breeze. Sunshine and darkness and peace and quiet. I've never seen true chaos until I spent one day with a toddler trying to grasp language. It's as if you see the synapses firing off in front of your very eyes.
What a gift it is to have these tiny creatures that amidst the darkness and the heartbreak remind us of all things good, kind, innocent and wonderful. That remind us that we always communicate best when we use our body more than our mouth. Sometimes all we really need is to hold someone's hand, a good old fashioned bear hug or the warmth of a kiss. What a blessing these little souls are to us.

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