Sometimes I forget that I have a daughter. Like now.
I just looked out the window from my fiercely focused 'free' time while she naps, two hours of catching up on bills, emails, Twitter, calendar planning... and I remembered that at any moment, her little head will pop out of the bedroom and I'll drop everything with a smile exploding out of my face, to greet her. It is as if I had forgotten, ever focused in Efficient Mom Mode, that I indeed do have a daughter.
Years ago, before she came around, my mother friends would tell me how efficient they'd become. An hour as a mother was like 5 hours as a non-mother, they would say. Fueled by a super-focused fire, they could accomplish things almost miraculously, compared to when they didn't have a child of their own.
Forgetting I've got a daughter is kind of crazy given how much of my mind and life she occupies. What's meaningful about it for me is that the presence of children -- their ability to naturally be in the moment of now -- so strikingly captures our admiration, and I guess it's refreshing to think I sometimes enter that nowness too.
It is also a gift in that, while all the 'me-time' is exceptionally welcome and necessary for my grounded state of mind, I am elated when I see that girl. As long as she sleeps for at least an hour. (Wink wink.)
Dear Mother in Law,
I just can't tell you enough how grateful I am that you gave birth to your son.
I don't know much about souls and lifetimes and all that stuff, but I can tell you that in the first decade of knowing him as friends, every single time I ran into him I felt an inexplicable sense of joy. He wouldn't do anything or say anything; I just felt elated, from someplace way deep down. An ancient happiness based on an ancient love for this man.
Whatever you did as his mother, and whatever you didn't do, it all worked out so beautifully. I am grateful for all of it.
Thank you for meeting his father Claes and conceiving a child together. Thank you for carrying him in your womb, and birthing him out into the breathing world. Thank you for following your heart onto the theater stage, bringing him with you, breastfeeding him, holding him, cooking for him, singing to him, letting him crawl on your back at the beach.
Your son is a jewel beyond words. Thank you for bringing him into this world.
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Jessica Rios, Founder of Leaning into Light, is a mother, coach, lifelong letter writer, and eternally a fan of Fred Rogers. This deeply personal blog and our free recorded conversations are devoted to one of her greatest passions: illuminating the beauty of the human spirit.