In response to a mother who questions her worth as much her sanity:
Check back with us after you've sat in a hospital waiting for your three-year-old child to come out of surgery, realizing how easily she could die on the table. Just a few hours after you had kissed her when the anesthesiologist slipped on the mask and she went gently limp in your arms and you handed her over like a sacrifice.
Then the second round of surgery because this time you understood how much she was going to hurt in recovery. Then the third surgery. And there was no way you could protect her from it — in fact yours was the duty to tell she needed to be healed by more than kissing a booboo.
A few years later the concern watching her climb on her bicycle and wobble away down the road doesn’t even compare to the terror of her first few years driving a car — or dating — or going to college when she had no better idea what she wanted to study than she did in elementary school.
No one said being a parent is easy. There are some rare ones for whom the dreary day to day doesn’t exasperate them, the fourth or fifth time they need to tell their toddler not to… but for the rest of us, it’s work, mind-numbing, repetitive and seeming with no end in sight.
You sacrifice pieces of yourself so she can prosper. If it wasn’t so hard-wired, the species might not have made this far.
The payback comes in spare moments, like times when her young wit first shines, or she shows you how gracefully kind she’s becoming, times when she herself takes to children in ways you never felt you were adept at. When she falls in love with another, when she falls in love with the world.
We live outside ourselves — beyond our own lives — when our children demonstrate by theirs that they value what we tried to instill.