Tonight, about an hour after she'd gone to bed, I heard Sophia fumbling toward the potty, whimpering slightly. I made my way out of my bath and found her sitting there, head in hands. It became clear that she was only marginally awake, and I ushered her through the labyrinth of wiping and hand washing. It wasn't until I'd gotten her back to her bed that I realized that her jammie bottoms were slightly wet, and that was what was fretting her.
I laid her back on her small bed, spoke in my best soothing mother tones, and pulled her jammie bottoms off. Then I swooped on a new pair, soft worn cotton, and assured her that everything was okay now. She promptly rolled over onto her side and crooned, "Love. Mommy. Love. Love Mommy."
I sat by her for a moment, my hand on the warm curve of her back, and thought about being Love and Mommy. In the years I've been a mother, many of my hopes about this job have been punctured. I was sure I would be able to provide my children with a Proper Childhood, not knowing how complicated the living of a life actually is. I knew I'd be able to teach them well, prepare them to take on the world. I did not realize that all I had the power to do was offer, and they are the ones who get to choose what to take. I certainly did not realize how much I would be wrong. I thought the years together would grow me wiser, when instead it feels as though all I've learned is an ever-increasing list of terrible things that can happen.
But there is one hope of motherhood that has survived. In this world of hurt and sorrow, where it sometimes feels as though all we do is reel from loss to loss, there are still moments. Perfect little moments, where you can reach out to a small person, and set her world right. Whimpering turns to Mommy and Love, and I got to do that.
This feels very profound to me tonight, but it also occurs to me that my Love Mommy tonight comes from a bottle of narcotic cough syrup, so perhaps I should leave the conclusions to the morning.