I am so tired. The pillow is eyeing me from across the room, its cotton candy goodness, a soft place to lay my head. The bed is demanding, its layers of sheets perfect in its folds, like layered Kleenex in a tissue box. I can’t though, not yet. I’ve got responsibilities. There is a little one, yelling, “Momma!,” Actually she is screaming “Momma!” And then the questions begin, one after another, “Momma, can we go to the park today?” , “Momma, can you paint my fingernails?”, “Momma, is it time to go to bed yet?” She dispenses questions, like she is a Pez candy dispenser, and I can’t keep up. Half of the time, I am answering yes, or no, because I haven’t even heard the question. In between the questions, are the intermittent statements that begin with Momma and the demands to watch, help, feed, bathe and with grace, placate. I am always on the escalator looking for my opportunity to hop off, but I can’t, because the moving steps never stop at my destination.
Sometimes I want to stop. I want to stop so bad and taste freedom. The freedom of noisy things, watching television in the middle of the night, going to the bookstore whenever I feel like it, or perusing through the aisles of my favorite store. What I crave the most, what I really want to do is feel the taste of freedom in quiet things, sleeping in late, taking an uninterrupted shower, or reading in bed. It is not my escalator, though, and I can’t stop, because she has other things that she wants to do. She doesn’t care about the old me. She wants the Momma-me, all the time, because to her I am her living, breathing heaven.
As much as freedom smells good, as much as it whispers to me to come back to it, I won’t. The truth is I could have come to a firm stop on the escalator. I could have stopped at my destination a long time ago and I chose to move beyond something besides myself. I wanted to experience, in its purest form, a love that was so unconditional, that for your child, you do become God, because at this tender young age, they know nothing else. I look at her, curled up, in my lap, her eyes closed, she grasps on my back, like we are floating in an ocean, and for her, if she lets go, she will become lost forever. She won’t take that risk, though, because she won’t let go, even when I try to put her in a more comfortable position, thinking that she will sleep better if she has more space. The only place she wants to occupy is mine.
My own eyes feel heavy, almost as if steel columns are teetering on my lids, but I force myself to wake up, kissing her cheek, feeling her breath, the comfort of her sleeping. I am tired, but the moment I close my eyes, she awakes, and says “I love you Momma,” and falls back asleep. I tell her, “I love you,too.” The escalator has stopped. This is my destination.