Sometimes I get scared.
I look at my beautiful children and I think, what if their cold is not a cold? What if their growing pains are something more? What if their tummy aches are the start of something I know too well? I watch them blow their noses or rub their stomachs and at night my mind races. What if…?
These questions can only be answered in one way. I cast my restless sleep aside, and I go and check on them.
I place my lips on their foreheads and make sure there is no trace of fever. I hold their hands for just a minute and watch their restful slumber. I marvel as their lashes cast long shadows on their cheeks. And as the grey of morning begins to dawn, I pray that I am making decisions to guide them away from all illness- if that is even possible.
I silently invoke from the depths of my being, a kind of everlasting, beautiful, robust health to infuse their lives. I listen to their gentle breaths -one softly crooning on an exhale- and ardently hope that they will never need to know chronic pain. I pray that they will never know IBD. I will from the depths of my soul that they will never manifest MCTD, or Lupus, or MS, or EDS or any of the symptoms that have me bouncing between clinics and constantly questioning treatments and potential diagnoses. I silently promise to keep pursuing my own answers so I can pass healing down through generations. I renew my vow to keep trying. To keep pushing. To keep teaching them everything I know.
Sometimes that’s enough. As their eyes flutter open, my own nightmare ends.
I know I have absolutely no control over the genetic legacy I have already left my children. None of us really do. I know we can all only embrace life with the whimsical composition of who and what we are, and play our most vibrant hand when the next card is dealt.
And sometimes I need to remind myself that motherhood is not an inherited station, but a journey. And whether my nocturnal wishes are answered or not, I will lead my children forward into the unknown. I will kiss their hurts. I will cast light on their paths whether they stumble or step firmly, and be alongside them through all their questions and their many shifting answers – those great lost and found moments of the years ahead- for as long as I am here.
“Good morning, Mama.” A sleep-coated voice and a milky smile greet me and I wipe my eyes and smile back, ready for another day; made brave by this waking life.
“And is not that a Mother’s gentle hand that undraws your curtains, and a Mother’s sweet voice that summons you to rise? To rise and forget, in the bright sunlight, the ugly dreams that frightened you so when all was dark.” – Lewis Carroll .
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