A while ago, I posted a picture on Instagram of a flower my daughter gave me. She handed it to me, gripped in her chubby little hand, asking me to keep it in my pocket all day while I was at work so I could remember her while I was away.
I smiled sweetly at her and stuck it in my pocket, completely in awe of a little girl that means so much to me and is so much a part of who I am. Of course, little thing, I would love to carry this bent, fake flower in my pocket for you. I couldn’t believe she had to ask me to remember her while I was gone. I know she’s just five and it’s not that deep for her, but for me, it is.
As a mom, it was big and deep and encompassing.
And until the moment she has her own children, she won’t get it. She won’t understand the depth to which everything I do revolves around her (and her sister) in some way. She can’t understand no matter what I’m thinking about, my children are there on the edge or front and center, taking up space, love, worry, and joy. They are in my work conversations, my drive home, my time at the gym, and my quick run to the grocery store. They are in my emails, my weekend plans, my hopes for the future, and my forever.
I am their mother, and it’s not just because I birthed them. It’s not just because I have constantly bruised shins because they climb on me and run into me all the time. It’s not because they look like me, act like me, laugh like me.
I am their mother because I decided to make their lives my life’s work. Not my only work, but my greatest work, my best work. So everything I do, whether I consciously think about it or not, is for or about them.
They will not understand this--can’t possibly fathom this--until they are older and have their own kids. Until their lives revolve around little ones who rely on them totally, and who slowly turn into bigger ones that don’t really need them as much. They will learn this one day, just as I had to, just as my mother before me. They don’t know and then, suddenly, they will know, and it will take their breath away. And they will never breathe quite the same again.
My children are in my bones, my being, and my blood. They’re in my laugh, my tears, and my dreams.
And, as of last recently, they’re in my pocket, too.
Posted originally on Trusty Chucks in November 2014.
Mary Graham is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis, Indiana. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and rescue dog, Blue. During the day, she teaches high school English and at night (after the girls are asleep), she writes for The Huffington Post, Pearson's Teachability, For Every Mom, her own blog TrustyChucks & various other print and digital outlets. In her spare time, she likes to read, travel, eat chocolate, run half marathons, and then eat more chocolate.