Before she was in my arms, I had no idea how much I would love my daughter. And now that she’s here, she sits right at the center of my heart. Being a source of happiness and reassurance for her is very important to me. And of course I’ll always teach her not to lie. But there are some things I’ll tell her as she grows up that won’t be entirely true, like these:
1. “I missed you while you were sleeping!” Recently, I’ve noticed that I tell my daughter this every morning and after most naps. Honestly, I do feel relief and joy upon seeing her when she wakes up. And while she’s sleeping, I do miss her. But mostly, her sleep means I can get work done. Or sleep myself. Or cut my toe nails and maybe even paint them. Or watch back-to-back episodes of “Hoarders” while folding laundry without trying to figure out how to entertain a baby during all of that. So, yes, I miss her while she’s sleeping. But what’s more true is, I use her sleep as the break I need to reboot and be a great mom when she’s awake.
2. “No worries, you aren’t interrupting!” I know this one is coming. I can just see her zooming into an adult conversation with a face full of oatmeal, craft paint, or tears, and needing me. I hope when I know she’s interrupting because she truly needs her mama, I will tell her that she isn’t at all. But I also recognize the truth, which is that children insert themselves into the middle of an adult life. Whether we’re talking big-picture, or a cup of coffee with a friend, 20 minutes of down-time on the couch with my husband, and so on, chances are she (and her potential future siblings) will interrupt me plenty. I just hope I have the patience to lie to them about it.
3. “Everything happens for a reason.” It’s a toughie. I might not believe it myself, and I know it’ll be a hard sell if we move out of state when she’s formed her first friendships and I have to explain why. Or later, when she doesn’t make the team. Most important (and from her perception, trite, I imagine) these words will be when her heart is broken for the first time, she receives a college rejection letter, or loses a big job. She’ll probably roll her eyes at me, or even get mad at me, like I did to my own mother upon getting dumped for the first time, or getting laid off from a magazine job I loved and hearing those words. So, no, I don’t know if every bad thing that will happen to her will be “for a reason,” but I’ll say it anyway.
As she continues to grow and develop, I’ll have to tell my daughter lots of lies. I’ll have to tell her that her pimples aren’t noticeable, and that her singing voice is beautiful even if she inherits mine. I’ll have to lie about my own teen and college years, even if it’s just a lie by omission to keep my mistakes from being glamorized. But of all the lies I’ll tell my daughter, there’s one I will keep telling confidently. Because I don’t know for sure if everything happens for a reason, but every bad thing that ever happened to me was just bringing me one step closer to her. So that one, I’ll believe. And I hope she will, too.
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