I see you, Mama.
I see the way your arms tremble with fear and pride as your baby is placed into your arms for the very first time, the weight of joy and responsibility heavy in your new mommy heart. Yearning for the moments before birth when he was just yours. How will you keep him safe always? How can you love something so much? I see you, Mama.
I see the tears gather in your eyes as exhaustion overwhelms you. When you think you can’t possibly go on this way, rising every hour through the night, cleaning the neverending stretch of baby supplies and clothes and blowouts and vomit and slobber, but not yourself. I see you, Mama.
I see you peeking at your baby’s fluttering breath throughout the night. “Sleep when he sleeps,” they say. Instead, you spend your night praying that the next breath comes just as strong as the last one, trying to close your eyes for just one minute, but unable to breathe until you know he has. I see you, Mama.
I see you as you try to remember who you were before you became a mom. As you make room for yourself amidst the demands of motherhood so that you can better meet your family’s needs, so you can recognize your face in the mirror. As you find something that’s only for you. I see you, Mama.
I see you collapse into bed at night, praying he falls asleep easily so you can too. Grazing your fingers through his baby-soft hair, you are struck with wanting to squeeze him awake again, so you don’t miss one more minute with him. I see you, Mama.
I see you desperately clutching his tiny hand as you walk him into school for the first time, choking back the tears of uncertainty and sadness. Remembering how his tiny baby fists and his tiny baby face tucked under your neck at naptime. Knowing you’d endure a few more sleepless nights if he were that small once again. I see you, Mama.
I see the way you love both your job and motherhood, struggling to be good at both but often times failing to meet your own expectations. Forgetting to submit the proposal for the next day’s meeting or forgetting to make cupcakes for his Valentine’s Day party, you are ever-ready with criticism of yourself. Give yourself grace. I see you, Mama.
I see you struggle to understand how other kids and people wouldn’t be kind to your sweet baby. I see you aching at the ugliness of this world and wishing you could shield him from ever having to face any of it, fighting the mama-bear urge to make everyone who’s ever hurt him pay for his pain. I see you, Mama.
I see the way you cackle with uninhibited glee at his silliness. The way you can’t help but kiss his adorable face and hug his adorable neck. Surely, there’s never been a funnier kid in the history of kids. I see you, Mama.
I see you lace up his Nikes as he gears up for his big game, hoping he remembers to have fun while on the field–that win or lose, he is still amazing. I see you cheering in the stands, wearing your “Team Mom” regalia. Some ridiculous and obscene color picked from the color wheel covers you from head to toe, noisemakers at the ready. I see you, Mama.
I see you watch him struggle as he faces immense adversity, wishing you could steal his pain and frustration, even if only for a moment. If only he knew what you knew: he is tough, he is strong, he will get through this. He will survive and be better for his struggle. I see you, Mama.
I see you drop car keys into his outstretched palm. To him, you are “Mom” with an accompanying eye-roll, worrying again for no reason. To you, he is still the greatest love you’ve ever known, and the fear of this moment is almost crippling. You spend that night–and every night that follows–praying he comes back home. Maybe you should buy him a Hummer after all. I see you, Mama.
I see the way you cry into your pillow his first night away at college. And the second. And the third. And many nights after. You send desperate prayers up that he is making good decisions, that he’s safe. That everything you’ve taught him aids him in reaching his goals and living his dreams. You hope he’s unafraid. You hope he takes risks. You hope he makes mistakes. You hope he learns from those mistakes. I see you, Mama.
I see you squeezing his arm on his wedding day, willing yourself to share him with someone else. You pray for their happiness and kindness, that they remember life is about more than making money. It’s about dancing in the rain and doing movie nights and cooking terrible and yummy dinners and reading books and playing board games. You pray he will still come eat waffles and bacon at your house. I see you, Mama.
I see you.
An important aspect of teaching writing is to teach students how to imitate beautiful writing and make it their own. This art of play and practice with language is an important step in our students achieving effective writing independence. Like watching a favorite basketball player and emulating their “moves,” we want students to find the “moves” they like and play with them in their writing. Through observation and analysis of mentor texts, we teach our students to mimic elements of great writing and use it in their own writing to develop their identities.
In reading a viral post on Facebook about motherhood called “I Cry Because…” (post no longer available to share here), I became inspired to talk about the wonderful stress of being a mommy in a similar way. Each of the statements above was written through my own personal experience or through knowing incredibly strong moms that have inspired me in their own unique ways.
I know we are all in different stages and moments of motherhood, but we must learn to see each other. And allow ourselves to be seen.