Sleep, my little one.
The fringe of your lashes brush against the ivory of your petal-soft cheek, and your lips move in a baby dream of warm milk. I reach into the cradle and draw the satin blanket up, then touch your silky curls.
These are the last moments of my unmarred motherhood.
Your gentle mewlings will grow to annoying howls and grate on my nerves, especially in the dark hours; my patience will wane, and I値l let you cry, until finally, I値l prop a cold bottle against a rolled towel.
Before long, you値l walk, and you値l dart about like a flitting bird. At first, I will revel in your freedom and accomplishment, but then, I値l grow weary of your curiosity and busy-ness. Unable to resist the surge of irritation, I値l smack your inquisitive fingers, ignoring the hurt look in your eyes. Why won稚 you be satisfied with your blocks?
With relief, I値l send you off to kindergarten, and I値l feel some semblance of sanity return to my life again, some control. I値l relish the quiet and try to remember how long it has been since I could hear myself think. When you come home each afternoon, I値l not be interested in your smudged pictures and crying tales. My day has already been wretched enough. Please, leave me to the respite of afternoon television and coffee.
I値l be unprepared for the rambunctiousness and giddiness of nine year-old girls. That痴 why your birthday party will be a disaster. The tipped over cake and burnt pizza won稚 be my fault, my dear daughter. You will ask for a party, and a party you値l have, but I値l have no understanding of how to go about such a venture. Even the trivialities will baffle me, paper cups or regular dinnerware, vexing and a puzzlement, sure to displease you and anger me. It will be the first of several missed attempts, and eventually you will give up expecting anything more.
Your teen years will be long and miserable. I can稚 say I shall long for any kind of relationship with you, though, for you shall be both tiresome and troublesome, complete with a neverending litany of questions that I can稚 answer, resentments I can稚 resolve, and observations I can稚 comprehend. Your door will be closed often, and to be honest, it値l be fine with me. During those silent years of aloofness, I値l be relieved that I知 temporarily released from all but the most mundane duties of motherhood.
You池e going to apply blush to those tender cheeks and mascara to your luxurious lashes, and it will be a source of contention between us. Ironically, it won稚 be because you are unskilled or spreading it more thickly than I consider seemly, but because I値l fail to see the need for it. A waste of money and time. But, most of all, I値l be envious that you池e covering a beauty I wasn稚 blessed with. But tell you that? Never!
I will not be able to protect you, and you will think that I should. How will I be able to guard you every moment, every second? Impossible. Despite all reasoning, you値l lay it to my account that I failed you, abandoned you.
You will expect too much from me. Mothers are not gods.
There値l be times I値l wonder what I致e done, whether I should have become a mother at all. I値l watch other moms run and play with their children and ponder why their pleasure comes so easily to them. Motherhood will be a circuitous labyrinth for me, a treacherous maze, and I値l be confused and bewildered, making mistakes again and again, but never learning. Maybe because I struggled as a child, I will strive as a parent, unable to meet the demands, even as my needs were never met. The crying child still wails.
You shall, in time, marry. Arguments over the cake, the dress, and the flowers will abound and grow heated between us. Your lack of cooperation and sullenness will exasperate me. Although I値l try to do my best, you値l resist my efforts. Finally, you値l drive away with your new husband, the tin cans dragging behind the bumper echoing the clamorous, empty banging of my heart.
So, sleep on, my darling child. Let me have this moment, before I make any mistakes, while I am still flawless, faultless. I am, for now, a perfect parent, a pure and loving mother.
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