this is why

by humanmama on May 20, 2013

Sometimes you do it for the love, for the hugs, and for the kindness. Sometimes you do it for the generations to come, or for the celebrations and the graduations and laughter and tears. But sometimes you forget why you do it. Sometimes you forget why you keep on parenting, keep on doing your very best every single day to get the kids to bed at a reasonable hour, with decent food in their bellies most nights. Sometimes you forget why the shopping for other peoples’ kids’ birthday presents and dance recitals and ponytails are important.

This is why.

Because there is an twenty-month-old right now, sitting in a car with a pacifier and a sippee cup of juice. And it’s so late, and she’s so tired, but her eyes are big and watching. And her teenage mother and friends are in the car and they are all silently texting someone–someone else–but the windows are down part-way,  and she can see you, through the darkness and fog. She can know that you are loving and caring and even though they are smoking in the car with her and her short, strawberry-blonde waves are soaking in the smell of cigarettes, she can know that you are there somewhere.

Because somewhere there is a three-year-old in a shopping cart, rubbing his eyes and slightly whining because he could have been in bed at 7pm, certainly at 8pm or even 8:30 but it’s past ten now, and he’s so tired. He doesn’t even know he’s tired, but his voice is tired and can’t say the word “why?” in a polite manner. And for this he gets smacked, right in the mouth, and his mother or auntie might hiss at him shut the fuck up. But he knows, somewhere deep down, that you are there in the world. That you are not slapping anyone on the mouth, even if you might want to. That you are kissing the cheek of a child who went to bed only 20 minutes after they should’ve, and that even though you were so, so tired of it all you tried very hard not to let your kids see it. He can know you are there somewhere.

Because somewhere there is someone being abused. Right now. So badly hurt and abused I can’t even write about it and you can’t even read about it, it would hurt your heart so much. But you still go on, day after day, because that child has a right to know that it can be different and it should be different. And that you are out there, somewhere, loving and being a beacon of light and kindness, even if it doesn’t always get out in the way you want it to, but that your heart is as good as can be and you exist–you exist somewhere in the world and things do get better.

And the grass keeps growing and the bills keep coming and the work keeps piling up, and the laundry and the dishes never end, and the homework gets harder each year and the sports and instruments and shoes, oh the shoes that need to be purchased. But you still go on. Every day. As hopeful and as sane as you possibly can knowing somewhere deep down in the depths of your heart and soul that someone needs you to be there, to keep doing it day after day with no thanks at all. And when you wonder why? Why do I still go on, day after day? and your kids alone are not enough, you can re-read this, and remember.

This is why.

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