I am the giver.
I am the giver of birth to another life. I am the giver upper of my body. Nine months times three to grow tiny humans. Breastfeeding for a year or more. Repeat. Repeat. Gain and lose 40 pounds. Repeat. Repeat. Giver of a tiny, safe place to grow brains, lungs, fingerprints, and teeny tiny hearts. Giver upper of those six-pack abs and sleeping on my tummy to grow another life.
I am the giver of time.
Giver of my own time to raise my own. Time run by a carefully mapped out schedule dictated by naps, lunches, nursing babies, school drop-offs, and pick-ups. Time carpooling to ballet and soccer practice. Time spent in the day-to-day life doing crafts, building LEGOs, washing faces, and sweeping crumbs. We want more of it and less of it all in the same breath. It is both our best friend and nemesis. Sometimes the clock seems to never move, and yet, at the same time, it never stops.
I am the giver-upper of sleep.
Sleep-deprived because of nightmares, cups of water, thunderstorms, and up all night nursing sessions. Giving up a full night’s sleep for days, weeks, and even months so we can rock sick babies, feed hungry newborns, snuggle scared toddlers, and wait up for late-arriving teenagers. We lose sleep worrying about doing everything right, doing nothing right, not being enough, being too much, how they are growing too fast, and do they know I love them?
I am the giver of choices.
Yellow or blue cup. Goldfish or animal crackers. Sandals or rainboots. Yes or no. Choose joy or timeout. Choose kind. Please, please choose kind. Choose right or wrong. Please show me you know which one. Choices that break us, shape us, and stretch us. So many choices. Choices to guide our little ones so one day they will be confident decision-makers.
I am the giver of discipline.
Timeouts for tantrums at home, at the store, in the car. Punisher of yellers and door slammers, naughty word sayers and criers. Take awayer of iPads, and TVs, and phones, and friends, and freedom. This one—this one—is when the giving is hard.
I am the giver of answers. May I play outside? Where are my shoes? What time is dinner? Where is my blankie? Why do I have to practice spelling? Sometimes, I listen and offer a thoughtful answer. Sometimes, I give answers without listening. Wait, I agreed to dessert before dinner?!
I am the giver of tasks.
Pick up your room, hang your backpack. Clear your plate and wash your hands. Giver of laundry lists of dos to keep the house from falling into a post-apocalyptic battleground. Giving orders and jobs to anyone who will listen, which basically means talking to the dog.
I am the giver of information.
Dinner times, school activities, sporting events, show-and-tells, super student of the weeks, field trip permission slips, book order forms, and birthday party invitations. So. Much. Information. We will fall short. We will forget. Forgive us.
I am the giver of words.
I love yous, I am sorrys and I forgive yous. Words to build them up, erase their sorrow, and heal their pain. Words to cheer them on and correct when necessary. Words to teach, encourage, and create trust. Words of wisdom and honesty to guide the way. Words to makes the cuts and scrapes all better, and when they are older, words to mend their broken hearts. May they always be words spoken with love and good intention. And when they are anything but, may there be more words to recognize the error of our ways.
I am the giver of love. Unconditionally. Without merit. Wherever. Whenever. Simply, for no other reason than because you are mine.
Giver of midnight snuggles, Eskimo kisses, bear hugs, and air high fives. Giver of jumping up and down squealing excitement love. Giver of holding you while you cry in my arms love. A mother’s love, like no other. It cannot be taken away. It will never run dry. Our love will love you forever.
I am the giver of myself. To my children. We give them all we have. All that we are. We give. We give. And when we think we cannot possibly give any more of ourselves, we find a way to keep giving. Because time is one thing we cannot give back.
Fellow givers, you are not alone. I know somedays the weight of giving is heavy. Suffocating. Exhausting. I know somedays it feels unappreciated. Invisible. Futile. But listen, my dear givers, your work makes ordinary days possible. Your work is the truest measure of love because it expects nothing in return. Your work matters. Your work makes the impossible, possible. Without you, the world would stop.
I see you, and I high five you. So carry on because you are my hero.
Originally published on the author’s Facebook page