By Audrey Sanchez of Two Dogs, One Cat and a Baby
Prepare yourself. What I am about to say is not easy to hear. Others may not understand and many will question how a mother could say such a thing. I am not worried about the others, though. It is you I most need to hear this.
My child, you do not make me happy.
No, you do not make me happy. You see, happiness is all too fleeting. Happiness is the most fickle emotion. It’s limited by time and environment. It waxes and wanes with the pressures of the daily grind, with health, fatigue, even the amount of sunlight to which we’re exposed. Inherent to happiness is unsustainability, impermanence. What I feel for you, my darling, is eternal. Expansive and infinite.
No, you do not make me happy. My beloved, you make me grateful. You fill me with a gratitude so profound it’s overwhelming.
Some nights I stay up listening to you breathe.
In the moments I’m moved to tears, when I can hardly breathe myself, it is not because of sadness, not because of happiness. It is because although my gratitude is cavernous, it overflows. My own body unable to contain it.
The days I sweep you into my arms and cradle your wriggling body against mine, I do so not because you make me happy. In those chaotic moments, it is gratitude for your spindly limbs and wild cackle of laughter that compels me to draw you close.
No, you do not make me happy. My beloved, you make me vulnerable. The love I feel for you is terrifying. It’s primal, and it’s foreign. The fears of a mother are constant, unrelenting. The love I feel for you urges me to trust the unknown. I love you despite this vulnerability and I love you because of it.
Loving you has cracked me wide open. I’m exposed to the world and myself in new and painful ways often. I feel more deeply. I empathize more authentically. I take risks and am humbled more readily.
It is because you make me vulnerable, not happy, that I do those things. It is because of you I am a better person.
No, you do not make me happy. My beloved, you make me joyful. Unlike happiness, joy is a stick to your ribs sort of emotion. It burrows deep in the gut and bursts cells with its abundance. You make me joyful despite the weight of motherhood.
No, you do not make me happy.
You make me well.
You heal me and you give me hope.
You make me curious.
I’m inspired to learn and rediscover the world alongside you.
You make me adventurous.
I’ve done things for you I would never have done for myself.
You make me emotional.
I didn’t know I had so many feelings until you came along.
I didn’t know who I was before you arrived.
My beloved, you make me so many things—more than I can list here—but you do not make me happy.
This post was originally published on Two Dogs, One Cat and a Baby
About Audrey Sanchez