Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I don't know how to do this.

I don't know how to be a mother.

I yell. I get frustrated. I am impatient. Sometimes, though I try really really hard, I am unkind. I look down at my child's upturned face, her little voice begging to be picked up and I just get angry. Can't she see I am trying to cook? Can't she see that I am busy? That I need space? That I need to be alone?

Then I remind myself...no she doesn't. She needs her mother. I am it for her. She has only me and Mark to rely on for love and security. I make up the lion's share of her world. It's just me most of the time.

It is an overwhelming task, a sweet burden, a heaviness that I will take until my last breath.

I want to know all the right things to do. I want to be all she needs. But I just don't know HOW. I don't have a clue. I've never seen it. And although I have gleaned from others the things I should do, it doesn't not make up for the void of the unknown.

I look ahead to the day she has her own child. Will she call on me? Will she want me and my knowledge? Will I have given her so much abundance of love and security that she will need me at that moment?

God willing.

I don't have the answers. Sometimes it brings me to tears how inadequate I am. But I love her...love love love her. And I want for her to be happy. I never want her to be lonely. I never want her to have a sadness that I cannot mend.

I remember so clearly sitting on my bed, book on my lap. I was maybe 6. My mother was in the living room, but she wasn't truly there. My father was gone. It was the first time I felt what loneliness truly was. I cried all over my book. I smeared the pages. The room was hot and stifling and I was frozen by the knowledge that even if I went and searched out my mother for comfort, I would not find it.

I think of myself when I look at Lily. I think of all the potential I had that was ruined. I think of my six year old self and wish I could know for certain Lily will never feel that. Because God knows if she ever did my world would stop turning until I made sure it never happened again.

There are moments when I am so sure of myself. Then there are days like this, when I feel I am failing her over and over. When I am sad, and she knows it. When we are sick, and I am tired, and I don't have much to give.

Of all the failures I have had in my life, and there have been more than I want to admit or think of, I DO NOT want to fail at this one thing. I want her to know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that she is treasured, cherished, loved, and wanted. I want her to never ever feel lost. I want her to never be at a loss adn looking for comfort. I want "mommy" to always be the first thing she thinks of when the world seems against her.

I don't know how to be a mother. But I know how to give, and how to love, and how to hold and snuggle. I know how it feels to not have. I know to look at her and know what she is feeling. I know when to sweep her up and carry her away from the world. I know when to let her be.

On days like this I can give her all of myself and hope that it is enough. And hope that tomorrow, I can do better.