Here’s the thing, I love you.
I love how you don’t even have to open your eyes to roll over in bed and open the blanket to that kid who has bad dreams.
I love how you worry about Kindergarten homework and teach yourself calculus all over again to keep up with your teen. I love how you swing babies up onto hips and prop them on check out counters or grocery carts or changing tables in desperately-too-small bathroom stalls.
I love how you balance your bags and that car seat carrier, the extra bottle, someone’s baseball helmet, the picnic blanket and still remember to pack the one lovie no one can live without.
I love how you see magic in passing fire trucks and roll down the windows so everyone can wave at the train crossing.
I love how planning a first visit from the tooth fairy keeps you up at night and involves scraping glitter off old Christmas ornaments or how by tooth number 45 you still manage to finagle some mystery into the quarter that showed up even if it was two days late.
I love how you can keep up a conversation with a friend while simultaneously entertaining two toddlers. How you can pour pretend tea party tea into tiny porcelain cups while pouring out your heart and plans for next year and that farm house you just moved into. I love that you don’t even notice that Winnie the Pooh is singing in the background because you’re so focused on listening to another mama.
I love how you wear macaroni necklaces with the sparkly earrings your husband gave you on your 15th anniversary.
I love how your cubicle at work is decorated with frames made from popsicle sticks and faces grinning out at you alongside the 5 goals your team has committed to this quarter.
I love how your car plays equal selections of The Wiggles and The Beatles and you all know all the words to both.
I love how you know who likes the red bowl and who likes the blue bowl and I love that you care about that difference.
I love how even when you’re so tired that you’ve forgotten your bangs are clipped backwards with a Dora bobby pin, you still pause in the door way to watch them sleep.
I love that you can tell who snores and who snuffles and who will need water at almost midnight exactly every single night.
I love that you know the names of all the super heroes and what each of their super powers is.
I love that you play princess dress up in your wedding dress and a tiny Tinkerbell wand.
I love that you pause to kiss pint-size princes.
I love that you understand how to score an in-home wrestling match and that you aren’t afraid to climb into the thick of it. I love that you’re undefeated.
I love that you make late night ice cream runs and early morning waffles covered in everything unhealthy under the sun.
I love that you say yes and I love even more the strength you have to say, no.
I love that in the back of your closet you’re still holding onto one or two teeny tiny memories that your waist has of a time before you had kids.
I love that today you’re wearing their high school sweat shirt instead.
I love that you laugh. I hope you know you are always still loved when you cry.
I love that you keep getting up to the same routine every day and somehow manage to make it a different memory by each night.
I love that you fold laundry while forgetting to change the Disney channel.
I love that you research questions like “How to get Desitin off the carpet” or “How bats navigate” or “What to feed a baby bird.”
I love that you wake up at night wondering how you could possibly love them more?
I love that you don’t want them to change and that you celebrate each new milestone they arrive at anyway.
I love that you’ve lost the ability to be embarrassed and have embraced the destiny of the unexpected.
I love that you now live in a house instead of a museum, that you have a rating system for the pain of stepping on Legos and still fight the good fight to get them to put the toilet seat down.
I love that you consider mac ‘n cheese a food group.
I love that you will protect these children even from yourself if you have to.
I love that you are undaunted, immovable and unafraid. Even on the days you are terrified.
I love that you give brave a face. I love that compassion aches out of you. I love that you wear empathy along with the lip gloss she applied. I love that you sing off key because they love your voice and that your body is built for the all out, full out, art of the monkey hug.
I love that when you feel empty and desperate and spent, you still take one more step.
Even if it’s just to hide in the bathroom and wait out the riot of emotions in your head.
I love that you let them lick the beaters and the pot and the pan and every last crumb from the counter.
I love that you remember to dance in the rain.
Maybe not every day.
Maybe not today.
But tomorrow. Yes.