I’m watching you in the playground, surrounded by kids. Doing your own thing, enjoying the fresh air and the sunshine. And I’m wondering how we get from this you to that you. The seven-year-old who tells me sometimes she wants to be dead. Who is angry and scared about so many things she never voices. Who told me the other night that you were afraid of the bad guys who might get into the house. Who asks me regularly what your life means and why you are here.

You make friends so easily. You’re fearless and then suddenly you’re not. You’re so kind. Too kind. You’re kind to everyone but yourself and I wonder if I’ve modelled that for you.

Sometimes it feels as though I don’t know how to be more than one thing at once. I can be a mother or a wife, or a student or an employee, or a daughter or a sister. I can’t be all of those things at once. I’m constantly failing at something. I couldn’t even successfully be a daughter to two parents at once.

And amidst all the roles I play, I have lost the ability to take care of myself as well.

Sometimes I wonder if I am only capable of loving one person at a time and you take it all up, wrap it around you. I don’t begrudge the amount of love you take from me, I give it freely. You are everything good.

You are also exhausting. Always talking, asking questions. Always wanting to know more, do more, explore more, find out more.

Sometimes it feels as though I can never be enough for you any more. When you were a baby, I was enough. I could hold you and cuddle you and talk to you. I knew what you needed because your needs were so simple. Food, sleep, diaper changes and love.

Now you need compassion, help with your homework, a shoulder to cry on. You need activity. You need things to do and things to focus on. You need questions answered. And you still need food, sleep and love.

But you can also give now, in so many ways you couldn’t before. You give the most wonderful hugs. You tell me stories. You say that you love me and sometimes that I’m the best mommy in the world. The same kid that yells at me for saying no will come to me when all she needs to hear is that it’s going to be okay.

It is a gift that you can be your absolute self with me, for now, and I have to remind myself what a gift it is.

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