The other night I snuck into my own kids room while they were sleeping to spy on them. After doing the nightly crib search of “where is he at underneath all these stuffed animals and blankets?” I looked over into the corner and saw the pajamas of a little girl who asks to wear them nightly but ends up sleeping in her undies any way.
They don’t know I’m in there.
He doesn’t know that regardless of which side of the bed his feet end up on, his hands will be clutching a lovie, his bottom will be in the air, and his cheek will be smooshed against the mattress
She doesn’t know that her blanket she isn’t able to sleep without will inevitably end up flung off of her or that her body will be sprawled out in every direction with no pjs on it.
But I do.
I get to know these things about them that the rest of the world doesn’t know.
That they don’t even yet know.
Like the way their skin felt when it was first laid on mine.
Like the pitch their voice squeaks out when they feel really proud of what they’ve done.
Like the shape their face takes when their eyes are about to well up with tears.
Like the warmth of their morning cuddles or the stench of their dirty diapers.
Now it makes sense, mom.
All those times you knew something was wrong the moment I answered the phone.
When you knew you needed to knock on my bedroom door and check on me.
When you knew what the light in my eyes, crack in my voice, and quiver in my lip meant.
When you knew I felt afraid even though I thought I was hiding it so well.
When you were cooking dinner and already knew exactly which foods that night I would pick around and which ones I would devour.
When you knew the words I needed to hear.
When you knew the space I needed to sit in.
When you knew the consequences I needed to face.
When you knew how hard I tried, how badly I failed, or how far I’d come.
When you knew the hug I needed to embrace.
Because you knew me, mom. You knew me even before I really knew myself.
And now I get it.