I am sitting on the small green couch, cross-legged, with my fingers covering my eyes.

I take a deep breath and begin to count…
1…
2…
3…

I can hear it then. Footsteps and giggles as she attempts to find a hiding space. I hear her run through the kitchen, socked feet padding against the linoleum. Stop. Clatter. Splash. And then more running. Socked feet pounding hard against carpet. Jumping. Running. Giggling.

I smile and continue to count, louder, so she can hear me…
4…
5…
6…

She runs around happily, trying to escape her obvious doom of tickling once I catch her. Socked feet crawling up the stairs, attempts at opening the gate at the top, little body sliding down.

7…
8…
9…

She fills my senses. I can smell her strawberry scented hair as she begins to crawl into my lap, sopping wet and giggling with anticipation and trickery at all she had created while I had my eyes closed.

She doesn’t let me get to 10. She’s too exhausted to continue to try and run away so she comes to me in surrender. She puts my arms around her and places her warm hand in mine, I can feel the fever radiating through her fingertips and smell the sickness on her breath, but her giggling still vibrates my body; she’s still happy.

I sit and melt into her for as long as she’ll allow me, take her in and fold myself over her. I take her back into me, hold on tight to her. I remember when my body was creating hers, how my own nourished hers. We were cut from the same cloth, she and I, and we still fit together as puzzle pieces. Where my body ends, she begins.

We make room for him to join us, and I take them both into me. We three, entangled together. My body created them, my blood ran through them, nourished them, gave life to them. They are a part of me, and I am a part of them, so I cuddle them into me, will them to remain small so I can continue to protect them. Beg them to fill the hallowed out parts of me.

But, they are their own people now, they are growing up quickly, learning and experimenting, pushing the limits in front of them, determining how far they can go. All I can do is sit with my eyes covered and count. Who knows where -or who- they’ll be when I finally look?

Rainbows and Unicorns Farting Butterflies

I love being a mom. I really do. All my life, I wanted to do nothing more than be a mom, a young mom, like my mom. It’s all I ever wanted. When I met Chris, he knew it was important to me. When we got married, we agreed we would wait. And when birth control failed, we were excited and eager.

I knew all about diapers and car seats, clothing and breastfeeding, baby carrying, co-sleeping, I knew it all. I learned from the women in my family, watched the examples they set for me. I knew what was important to me, and luckily for me, Chris was indifferent to most of the decisions. The ones he didn’t care for? He changed his tune once he got a full nights rest because of the convenience.

I love being a mom. It’s my favorite thing in the world. But I wasn’t prepared for all things I would hate about it.

I hate waking up at 530-6 most mornings, and consider 8 “sleeping in.” I hate that any date night requires at least a week’s worth of planning. I hate the constant worry that hangs on my heart. I hate that, sometimes, I’m not the best mom I can be. I hate that I can’t give them everything.

I hate being tired and worn out. I hate being angry and having to separate myself from them to count to ten. I hate that there are times when I can’t get them to stop crying. I hate that a shower alone, all alone, is a luxury I rarely get to enjoy. I hate that, no matter what you do right, someone is going to think you’re doing everything wrong.

But then….

They get sick and need me.
We show our love for each other by creating art.
We learn and build together.
We dress up and play pretend.
We cuddle.
She tells me she loves me.
He has a special smile he shows only to me.
We have tickle fights and special talks in our secret “language.”
We read books together, and they sit silent in my lap and listen.
I wake up from naps with two sets of big blue eyes staring back at me, with little arms wrapped around me, protecting me.

I don’t love everything about being a mom, there are a lot of things that I wish didn’t come with this package, but do. If I have to take all of that with motherhood, then I’ll take it. I wouldn’t change it.

This shit is frickin’ hard. It is hardly rainbows and unicorns farting butterflies. I wouldn’t change it. I love being a mom.