For now, I’m just Mama—the keeper of all your favorite treats: cookies, chips, and waffles. I try, largely without success, to conceal nutrition underneath piles of cheese or in sauces and muffins. Week after week, I tarnish our countertops with my efforts: chop, mince, puree, chop, mince, puree. I perform these rituals with frantic energy as if the urgency with which I cook is directly correlated with how healthy you will become.
My attempts to shield your delicate eyes from anything offensively green are done out of love. I shred zucchini carefully to avoid cutting myself against the cold, sharp steel of the cheese grater and chop carrots precisely into minuscule building blocks until they bear no resemblance to anyone’s idea of a vegetable. All the while, I imagine a deceptively nutritious Bolognese smeared across your grinning face.
For now, I’m just Mama, doing what I can to keep you nourished and growing.
For now, I’m just Mama, accepting every crooked-smiled “Read book” offer you extend. I always welcome the rhyming monkey and playful pup-themed books even when the stale repetition has exhausted me. As the words transport you to other worlds, ones in which animals talk, and doing the right thing always leads to an eternal happy ending, I find myself coming along for the ride.
I read in spontaneous voices: some high-pitched, others low, some stern, and others whimsical. My creativity emerges in unsolicited waves as I try with every page to amuse you. For now, I’m just Mama, bringing life to the friends from your books in service of pleasing you.
For now, I’m just Mama, letting you lead our playtime in keeping with the advice of the experts. I sit back and watch you, glad to catch a glimpse of the world through your eyes as the banana becomes a phone and the colorful stacking rings become a birthday cake. I marvel at how you put marker to paper with neither rhyme nor reason.
And I hope you never part with this daring, free, unencumbered part of yourself.
Your manic giggle when you open and close the bedroom doors upstairs, your electrified gallop when running outside, and your pure smile when those darn monkeys fall off the bed again.
I want you to know that, presumably, the activities will change, but those feelings—delight and exuberance—they are parts of you that deserve to be cherished and prioritized. It is brave to do what brings you joy.
Maybe I will tell you this one day, but for now, I’m just Mama, happy to sit back and watch you in your glee.
For now, I’m just Mama, folding endless piles of tiny clothes, satisfied only when they stand taller than you on my bed. I mop up mud stains and smeared blueberries until my arms hurt and pick up scattered toys until the ache in my back no longer feels foreign. Containing the chaos you unleash on our home could be a full-time job, but I promise myself that it will never truly be mine. For now, I’m just Mama, performing this domestic dance quickly while you nap so there is time enough to steal for my own sustenance and sanity.
For now, I’m just Mama, and this is enough.
Your tiny hand in mine, your squeaky voice requesting hugs and kisses, and your angelic sleeping face all promise me so. For now, I am the biggest part of your world, but only for now. You have already begun the journey that will separate you from me—first, in baby steps and later, in leaps and bounds. Soon enough, you will go on adventures, find love and endure heartbreak, recognize injustices that make you want to save the world, and meet friends that make you glad to live in it.
Maybe one day, if I am lucky, I will tell you about my own journey: the stories, the triumphs, the joys, and the pain that make me more than your mama. Maybe one day, we will talk like friends; you can share your wild and beautiful dreams, and I can tell you about my own, the ones too big for this house to contain.
But for now, I’m just Mama, and that is enough. More than enough.