identity::being a mother / by Christina Rosalie

To be a mother means to kneel a hundred times a day; to kiss a damp and tousled head after a nap, or to rub away some sticky mark upon an upturned cheek (and to wonder, was that oatmeal, or something worse?) It means pressing my knees into the floor, so I can look into the wide eyes of a small person who knows how to press all of my buttons and also how to unlock inexplicable emotions in heart, and to explain where people go when they die, or about the tooth fairy, or that no, the lollypop displayed alluringly at checkout is not an option. Being a mother means perpetually navigating a fine line between the profound and the mundane—a line I’ve discovered is often at floor level… and it’s there where the tantrums get thrown.

To be a mother means that my hands are always full: with the soft-jelly limbs of my baby Sprout, or with the eager sweaty palms of my Bean, bigger now, perpetually on the brink of dashing out into traffic, or climbing over fences, or scrambling down rock strewn ravines. And just as it means that I am carrying things, it means that my hands magic. With my hands, I accept imaginary cups of tea, paint dozens of pictures, rinse a thousand dishes, type a hundred thousand words.

But maybe it’s really about this: being a mother means becoming adept at the imaginary; at telling stories about monsters, or fairies, or of mice that drive dump trucks.... and its this capacity to imagine that makes enormous, extraordinary, things possible for my children, because I dare to dream them. Just as it’s this same capacity that allows me to imagine a time in the future without sleep deprivation…when my short-term memory will return… (it will, right?) and I'll have just a little more time.