“Just sleep!” I’m shouting again, frustrated. I peel you off of me, loosening the grip of your little hands around my neck, and shutting my ears to your soft voice whimpering, willing me to stay. “No, no, no!” I reprimand, my stomach rumbling. Exhaustion surrounds me, a heavy blanket around my shoulders.
Standing alone in the kitchen, a photo of us on the fridge catches my eye. The look on your face says your world begins and ends with me – adoration in your eyes for “the world’s best mommy.” Oh how I wish I could be the person that you see. Today, I failed again.
Running back to you, I stare at your face under the hallway lights, streaming in through the open door. Your long lashes are still wet from tears, your hair feathery-wet from the bath. You’re tiny and vulnerable, and so dependent, so trusting, so perfect. A sudden sob tear through your sleeping body.
Did I enjoy you enough today? Did I drink you in, for your smell to stay in memory forever? Did I give you all that you need from me? Did we play enough? Or was I only impatient and cautious? Did I let your dreams soar? And gave wings to your imagination? Is your heart still whole? Is your spirit still intact? Do your eyes still shine with curiosity?
“Oh God please protect the heart and soul and spirit of this child of mine ... also, and especially, from me.”
Because some days I’m just so tired and empty, with nothing left to give.
Some days I’m scared. Scared - I’ll lose myself when the days start to blur and I don’t know where I end and you begin. Terrified - about everything that could possibly go wrong. Anxious - that I won’t be strong enough to carry the load of motherhood as it gets heavier with each day.
Some days I get lost. Swept up in light and darkness, and my own baggage that I hope you won’t ever have to carry. Lost in my broken parts that I’m working hard on healing so that one day, when life also happens to you, I can show you the way.
But always my darling you must believe and know: My heart seeks yours above everything else.
Tomorrow I’ll do better, I promise myself.
“Tomorrow I’ll do better”, I whisper to you into the dark.
Tomorrow I’ll do better, I pray myself to sleep.
“Môre gaan ek beter wees”, fluister ek vir jou in die donker in.
Môre gaan ek beter wees, bid ek myself aan die slaap.