Can I enjoy being needed? Sometimes, sure, but often it is tiring. Exhausting. But, it isn’t meant to be enjoyed every moment. It is a duty. God made me their Mom. It is a position I yearned for long before I would ever understand it. Over a three-day weekend, my husband couldn’t believe how many times our boys kept saying, “Mama. Mama. Mama!” “Are they always like this?” he asked, not able to hide his terror and sympathy. “Yep. All day, everyday. That’s my job.” And I have to admit that it is the toughest job I have ever had. In a previous life, I was a restaurant manager for a high volume and very popular chain in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. A Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. with the expo window overflowing with dishes, a two-hour wait and the electricity inexplicably going out has got nothing on a Tuesday, 5:00 p.m. at the Morton house. And let me tell ya, South Florida diners are some of the toughest to please. But they are a cake walk compared to sleep-deprived toddlers with low blood sugar.
These years of being needed are exhausting, yet fleeting. I have to stop dreaming of “one day” when things will be easier. Because the truth is, it may get easier, but it will never be better than today.
Once upon a time, I had time. For myself. Now, my toenails need some love. My bra fits a little differently. My curling iron might not even work anymore, I don’t know. I can’t take a shower without an audience. I’ve started using eye cream. I don’t get carded anymore. My proof of motherhood. Proof that somebody needs me. That right now, somebody always needs me. Like last night…
At 3 a.m. I hear the little footsteps entering my room. I lay still, barely breathing. Maybe he will retreat to his room. Yeah right.
“Mama.” A little louder.
“Yes,” I barely whisper.
He pauses, his giant eyes flashing in the dim light.
“I love you.”
And just like that, he is gone. Scampered back to his room. But, his words still hang in the cool night air. If I could reach out and snatch them, I would grab his words and hug them to my chest. His soft voice whispering the best sentence in the world. I love you. A smile curls across my lips and I slowly exhale, almost afraid to blow the memory away. I drift back to sleep and let his words settle into my heart.
One day that little boy will be a big man. There will no longer be any sweet words whispered to me in the wee hours. Just the whir of the sound machine and the snoring husband. I will sleep peacefully through the night, never a worry of a sick child or a crying baby. It will be but a memory. These years of being needed are exhausting, yet fleeting. I have to stop dreaming of “one day” when things will be easier. Because the truth is, it may get easier, but it will never be better than today. Today, when I am covered in toddler snot and spit-up. Today, when I savor those chubby little arms around my neck. Today is perfect. “One day” I will get pedicures and showers alone. “One day” I will get myself back. But, today I give myself away, and I am tired and dirty and loved SO much, and I gotta go. Somebody needs me.
Megan Morton is a mama to 4 and writer living in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while 28 weeks pregnant with her 4th baby. She writes with heart and humor about her journey to crush cancer while still just being a normal mom. It is Megan’s mission to help others and their families who have to face the challenge of disease by sharing her experiences! cancercrusherchronicles.wordpress.org