For nine months I grew you. I endured bladder infections, fainting spells, around the clock vomitting and kidney stones. I brought you forth into the world in the midst of great pain: back labour, malpresentation, placental tearing, vaccumming, episiotomy, c-section and more.
I nursed you. I cluster nursed you. I danced up the hill outside our house at three am singing Thunderstruck by ACDC because the song, dance, upward movement and fresh air was the only thing that would get you to sleep. I walked to playgrounds at midnight and swung with you on my lap because the swinging was the only thing that would get you to sleep and you refused to be put down. I rocked for five hours straight while nursing when you had the ear infection that wouldn't let you sleep.
I gave up dairy, soy, eggs, legumes and seafood when your food allergies meant my milk would make you sick. I cooked for you because I wanted to and because you coudn't eat any commercially prepared food. I continue to cook for you, catering every meal so there's at least one thing each of you likes. Preparing vegetables so that you cannot taste, see, or smell them, cooking meat so that it's tough because you hate "smooth meat." Packing lunches that accomodate your sentsitivites, your classmates allergies and your pickiness.
I have wiped drool from your chin, snot from your nose, and shit from your ass. I have wiped pee from every surface in my home. I have wiped vomit and blood and puss from surfaces that never should have seen them. I have wiped your faces with my spit, and your noses with my sleeve. I have wiped tears from your eyes almost every time you cry.
I have taught you how to speak. I have read to you for countless hours, enduring the fifth rereading of the same book in one night because you have insisted and I have appreciated your hunger for the written word. I have bicycled your legs to strengthen them, held your hands as you tiptoed to improve your balance, held your legs as you balanced on a ball to improve your stomach muscles.
I have cut out paper dolls, blended soap and paint, drilled holes for your screws, made easels and blackboards. I have mixed cupcakes and marshmallow fondant. I have planned parties. I have created posters from nothing but a handful of photos and our combined imagination. I have helped you write your first stories, listened to your first poem and attended more living room fireplace concerts than I can count.
I have removed splinters, burst blisters, slathered cream on rashes. I have checked for lice and for tumours. I have brushed every last bit of cradle cap from your head though I know it will return next week. I have stopped bloody noses and iced bumped heads. I have brought you to the hospital and shouldered the blame for your injuries. I have sat with you in an ambulance, in an MRI waiting room, in a genetics office, in a late-night emergency room and prayed for your health and your life.
I would do it all again. Every last thing. Even the c-section. Even the snotty, bloody, vomit.
Because I love you. Because that is what mother's do.
But please, please, please don't ask me to play pretend with you ever again. I love playing pretend. I love to pretend. But I do not love your ceaseless instructions and intrusive rules. If you tell me once more what the character I'm pretending to be is supposed to say and do and then yell at me for getting one word wrong, I do believe that I will be the one spewing bloody, snotty, vomit. For the love of all that is between us, please don't make me be kitty's mother, or school bus driver, or pit crew ever again.
Tiger rides are still cool, though.