It wasn’t until she laid there lips slightly puckered upward, those big round eyes closed with her naturally long lashes whispering against her face and her tiny baby hands clutched into fists that I watched and wondered her dreams. She was so peaceful. The home was so quiet. Her beauty so breathtaking that the clock had passed two minutes before I realized I had just sat there starring at her with a smile on my face.
A true genuine smile that slowly faded and a pang in my gut and an incredible sense of guilt overcame my body. I felt heartbroken in that instant. Heartbroken for my beauty as she rested her head on a big comfy pillow with her legs across mine.
It was just after 9:00 pm. I felt exhaustion coarse through my body. Not because I had strained myself in any physical way that day. Oh no, the exercise fairy has not visited me in many many weeks. It was mostly from my mind. Mental exhaustion is a very real thing. Sometimes I argue that it will and can wipe a human out more than physical labor may.
My time with Logan is limited. Being a full-time working mom I am with my co-workers more waking hours a week than I am with my two-year old. I am not proud of that. It makes me sad actually but that is my truth and my reality. Sometimes in the evenings, the work doesn’t end. It trickles into our safety net, which is our home and hangs around like a black cloud following me around my house. I try to wait until she is asleep to face the storm.
As my own little sleeping beauty laid there so peaceful and content, I felt the “you are not good enough” voice creep in. I did not sleep well the night before, Lo woke up extra early that morning leaving me groggy and unready for the day. The weight of work stress was baring down on my mind and my morning was blindsided by an unexpected financial burden that made me sick to my stomach and grateful to have an income. I was defeated, annoyed and miserable. Nathan was away for the weekend and there I was alone with Lo.
I was short tempered all day and snippy.
“Come on!” I would exclaim as she was lost in her imaginary world.
“Hurry up, get your coat.” I would coax her along. Not allowing her to go at her pace but forcing her to go in mine.
As the events of the day unfolded, I felt my patience wear thinner and thinner and I lived for her nap. Sad huh? Turns out my solid napper gave me 45 minutes that day, all day. As I write this now, I feel like it very much was a sign from God to slow down, enjoy her and to quit allowing outside forces to impact my relationship and time with my daughter. I did however, strongly attempt to convince her to try to sleep again as we cuddled together on my bed later that afternoon. I know I dozed off on her not once but twice while she patiently watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse curled up next to me. Eventually her poking and prodding at my face forced me to get back up and give parenting another try.
Lo plays so well by herself. Her imagination so strong and colorful that she contently smiled at me while she played with her dollhouse and her Frozen dolls. She never really asked me to play with her that afternoon. It was as if she sensed her Momma was off. I attempted playing baby dolls but that consisted of a few diaper changes and me rocking a naked baby doll in my arms to pass the time. She allowed me my silence. She let me be. I failed at parenting that day. If mommy hood was a class I would have given myself a D.
My two year old gives me her A-game every day. That doesn’t mean she is pleasant 24/7. Some days we have our moments. She wakes up miserable like the rest of us. She is now two and that brings a new grasp for greater independence and testing her limits. There are tears and tantrums, but she always brings me 100%. The good, the bad, but never the ugly. No, no ugly, as I stare at her so peaceful in my arms.
I wanted to take back the day, but I lost it. Along with many other days in which I am a mommy fail. As she slept there and I starred at her I felt so many emotions but mostly guilt. An incredible since of guilt for not being a present mom that day and for not giving her all of me. I wished I had a do-over for the day, but I knew I did not.
I leaned down to her, nuzzling my noise into her cheek and smelled her sweet smell and I cried and apologized to my baby girl. An apology she never heard as she drifted off to her own little dream land. “Sorry I was so impatient today. I am sorry I did not give you my full-attention. I will do better.” And, I meant it.
I snapped this picture for two reasons. 1) Because she looked so sweet and lovely. 2) To look back and remember this feeling in my gut when another “off” day returns. To truly appreciate her, motherhood and the fact that even when I have a bad day or experience circumstances outside my control, my daughter brings me all of her every day and I really must return the same to her. The good, the bad, but not the ugly.
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