. Watching her climb onto a kitchen chair, face planted directly in the seat--- legs gyrating behind her until she heaves her body forward.
. Toddler morning breath (imagine bubble gum and a very loved sweater, in breath form-- weird, but seriously just...awesome).
. Why mommy? Why? Why? Why? Whywhywhywhywhywhywhywhywhywhywhy?
. The tiny shoes.
. Her arms wrapped tight around my neck.
. Remembering every fairy tale and bedtime story I knew, once upon a time.
. This little piggie.
. These pieces of my heart, running around outside my body, wearing shoes and skirts and skinning her knees.
. Digging in the dirt.
. Knuckle dimples.
. Flintstone toes.
. Children's gummy vitamins.
. The joy that comes from these two words: ICE CREAM.
. Walks under the swaying trees.
. I love you.
. "Go away Phoebe!"
. The smell of her.
. Her body nestled into mine.
. Putting puzzles together.
. Footie jammies.
. Kitten's First Full Moon. (Oh yucky kitten!)
. Counting the steps. Counting the windows. Counting the cars. Counting the rocks. Counting the pages. Counting the flowers. Counting the leaves on our tree. Counting, counting, counting.
. A child's appreciation of flowers.
. Coming home.
. Morning pretzel crumbs on the carpet.
. La la la Elmo.
. Understanding that GORDON'S THE MAN.
. Singing the rainbow song.
. Fingernail clippings.
. Cries on the monitor.
. Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! MOOOOOOOM-MEEE!
All of it. Every single blessed instant of it. The awful diapers and the poop and the hair pulling and the wonder of how she wrapped an entire roll of tape around a kitchen chair in 2.5 seconds. Unraveled rolls of toilet paper and the fact that I don't remember the last time I watched something on the tv in my studio that did not involve Elmo. The constant crunch of cereal on the floor. The little crayon renderings I find on the coffee table well after she's gone to bed. The total lack of bathroom privacy. The exhaustion, the depletion, the mind-numbing repetition of every single day running into the next and the next and the next. The late nights, the sore throats, the fevers. The salt in the humidifier. The eucalyptus oil that gets underneath my fingernails. The dark eye circles, the stretch marks, the gray hair, the muscle pains and the constant second-guessing of am I doing it right and what if I'm not and what if I am and is she going to be okay will she be scarred for life? Every single moment, every single worry, every single inconvenience, every single terribly wonderful bit of it.
This is why I do it. This is why I'm a mother.
Happy Mother's Day, to all the mommies.