After a fun birthday celebration, we found some time to have lunch and do a little shopping. She has really been in the mood to be a “mommy” these days, so she chose to spend her birthday money on clothes, furniture and a few other items for her baby dolls.
“I just love my babies.” She said, as she placed some pink mittens on one of her baby’s hands. She asked me if she ever had to wear mittens when she was a newborn. I told her that she did sometimes, but that usually her nails were clipped short enough so that she couldn’t scratch her face.
Then I told her about the very first time I cut her fingernails. I remember it as if it were yesterday. We were sitting on our blue glider in the living room, I laid her in my lap, and began clipping her nails. She wiggled, causing me to cut the skin on her finger and she bled.
She cried. So I cried.
We started laughing as I told her the story. “Why did you cry mommy?” She asked.
“I hated that I made you hurt.”
“That’s silly.” She continued laughing, “You are so funny! I can’t believe you cry just because I do.”
“I believe it. I just love you so much.” I said.
Over the past nine years, I have cried a lot of tears.
When she slipped and bumped her head on the bathtub, I cried with her. When she was adjusting to the new custody schedule, I cried with her. When she was frightened and wouldn’t loosen her grip on the first day of kindergarten, I hid my tears behind big black sunshades.
“You’re my baby. When you hurt, I hurt.” I tell her. “That’s just what moms do.”
That is what most moms do, I think to myself.
We think of our children. We pray for our children. We love our children so much that we attempt to protect them from even the smallest of hurts.
Currently, my husband and I are applying for a foster license and so my mind constantly stops to consider the children that don’t get that kind of love, affection and protection.
I am painfully aware that at the very moment that I am telling my little girl how much I love her, there is another parent somewhere out there intentionally harming his or her own child.
—“When I was a baby, what part of me did you love the most?” She asked interrupting my thoughts.
“I don’t think I had a favorite part,” I said, “I just loved every bit of you. I loved you so much, from the top of your curly little head down to your smallest little toe.”
A few moments later, I watched her wrap her baby doll up in her blanket. ”I love you so much.” She said as she cuddled her baby. Then she whispered, “that’s just what moms do.”