Tonight I braided Olivia's hair. For the first time ever. She was distracted by cotton balls and nail polish but that is not the point. Tears grew warm at the corners of my eyes before I even noticed them.
Why would I get so emotional about two honey colored braids? Just strands of hair woven together. Her petite body sitting on my lap, on the closed toilet seat. It was far more significant than what it appeared to be. Just writing about it now brings back that same overwhelmed feeling. I remember my mom braiding my own freshly washed hair, my body so relaxed after the warm bath. I sort of just melted into her as we sat there. All I knew was what was apparent. Me, my mom, my wet hair between her fingers. I never considered all the things that surely ran through her mind. Life, work, money, bills, expectations.
I was so moved by tonight because it is a metaphor for this next stage of my mothering. I have realized that having a baby is relatively easy. It's the parenting a young human that gets challenging, it's rememering the person you are trying to create admist the world you trying to swim through. I have to consiously remind myself: I have two little women under my wings. I must teach them to fly, freely but with standards. Intelligent yet objective. Femenine but capable. Aware but always sympathetic.
There are moments where the sheer responsibility of creating two humans who are happy without psychological therapy and pharmaceuticals as adults is enough to make me pour a drink. Literally. The only survival mechanism I have perfected thus far is to live within the day, the moment. To take in the current warmth of her tiny legs against mine, the wet strands of her yellow hair in my palms as I weave two sweet yet imperfect braids.