A couple of weeks ago I took Charlotte to a nearby house in the morning, to help out my friend Melissa who usually watches a boy and a girl before school. Charlotte goes there with Melissa most mornings, so the kids know her.
The girl came downstairs and I introduced myself. She said, "Hi," then got herself ready for school. A minute later she walked back into the room and asked, "Are you Charlotte's mom?"
"Yup," I replied with a big smile.
The magnitude of her statement blew me away. I am this little girl's momma. My identity has grown, shifted, developed. Being Charlotte's mom is such a wonderful, challenging, scary, and awe-inspiring responsibility.
I walked quickly down the hall, opened the door, and met the girl holding Charlotte halfway into the room. Once in my arms, Charlotte immediately snuggled up in my neck and her volume decreased from a loud (!!) wail to a quiet whimper.
I cuddled her close and whispered softly in her ear. We sat down to nurse. As I struggled with my shirt, her entire body relaxed. Her big blue eyes were closed and her little hand was holding tightly to me as she breathed deeply and began to drink.
Being Charlotte's mom has been a job that came naturally, and one that I've had to learn quickly, all mixed in one. There's a lot about mothering her that is automatic, smooth, easy. Then there's so much that is confusing and overwhelming and just plain hard. I feel as if every day is a new adventure, a fresh start, an exciting and sacred opportunity to love this girl and help her grow.