I never knew I could cringe at the sound of my own voice so entirely until I heard myself shrieking, “let’s go get dressed” for the 18th time this morning.
I never knew I could enjoy the tiresome work of cutting cucumbers and strawberries every single school day to pack alongside your scooby doo and frozen fruit snacks you picked this week.
I never knew I would miss you as if I might die without you the second you walked into school and then immediately need another break from you the minute you walk back into the house each afternoon.
I never knew I was craving cheesy Christmas shirts, socks, earrings, headbands, pajamas so very much until roughly 7 years ago.
I never knew how my life would become just another day of filling up water bottles over and over and over again as my love language really is to keep those I love fully hydrated at all times.
I never knew that every time I go anywhere, see anything, hear any song, greet a new dog, smell something delicious, I would think of you and what how you would react.
I never knew I could cut through the bullshit so efficiently and so violently fight the air in order to advocate for you.
I never knew that having you would increase my empathy, rage at injustice, and gratitude a billion times over.
I never knew just how important the act of parenting can be each and every day. How exhausting and exhilarating and defeating and character building. And that’s just before breakfast.
I never knew that this would be a constant struggle between wanting you to do the next right thing and watching you become who you are to grieving each little part of you that’s lost to me as you take one more glorious step forward.
I never knew just how connected I would feel with other moms who can, with just a look, know exactly what I’m feeling and why. And then just be with me for that moment.
I never knew just how rotten I am at asking for help and just how grateful and relieved I am when I actually get help until you.
I never knew I could hate homework so much all over again in one lifetime.
I never knew such dire heartbreak and massive joy could exist in exactly the same burst of light.
I never knew how incredibly strong and resilient I am.
I never knew that it’s possible to be both a pushover while also being a taskmaster.
I never knew how freely I could grant some grace.
I never knew how desperately in love I could be while a tiny human stands and screams directly in my face.
I never knew joy or rapture or pain or heartache until I think about losing you.
I never knew I would find it hard to breath when I’m away from you.
I never knew a love so big. I never knew a pain so deep.
I never knew how much anybody could enjoy making me laugh so fervently (except my husband – he always wins this) and that would make you laugh harder in return.
I never knew I could look forward to hearing your dad read Junie B. Jones aloud each night in his masterful characterization and embodiment of that particular first grader and then revel in your glee when she doe something outrageous yet again.
I never knew I needed company in the bathroom at all times. And if I’m lucky enough, sometimes they say things like, “here, let me change the toilet paper roll for you”.
I never knew I needed to watch as two incredible little humans show compassion and empathy to animals of every sort and confidently exclaim, “we are vegetarians” whenever they have a chance recently.
I never knew that I would wish to trade places with another human so they wouldn’t feel sick any longer. When they are sick, I am sick too. But then one day he finally walks out of school with a big smile after being sick for so long and asks, “How was your day? How are the kitties?”
I never knew I would get the privilege of following two kids around our library as if they own the place; all while they adopt an appreciation of libraries and books and librarians and all things that libraries offer us that we all so desperately need.
I never knew I needed two little people watching me at all times to make me really question how I treat people. Even when they’re not watching. Modeling friendships and relationships, even with people we don’t agree with on anything, is a profoundly important life skill to learn and teach and share together and I hope I am not messing it up daily. I am reminded every day to look for the similarities, because of you – for you.
I never knew I wanted to do every single schmoliday activity under the wintry sky if only I can do them with you.
I never knew that you having a dream about robbers and hearing how mama would “karate kick their throats to protect us” would be just the kick I needed to keep going on that particular day.
I never knew what holding promises and creating space meant until you.
I never believed that daily affirmations are actually life changing and real.
I never knew bedtime secrets and wishes and confessions were an honor until you.
I never knew early morning was my favorite until I met you.
I spent so much of my life hiding in the darkness because I hadn’t yet figured out how to turn on the lights. And then there was you.
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