Leaving in the hushed darkness of the morning for work doesn’t make me feel like a good mother. I tell myself that this is all to give you a better life—a better chance. With a kiss on your forehead and false cheerfulness to get a smile from you, I leave you awake in your bed, my heart breaking.
But I can’t show you that part of me. I have to be strong. I have to be everything you need and more. What you don’t know is that I coax that smile and silent laugh so that I too can smile without a struggle. It truly is the most beautiful moment to see you happy and healthy and while I’m more than grateful for it, it also is the hardest part of my day.
Every time I leave for work, I feel like I’m failing you. Every smile, every hysterical little laugh that escapes you, every tiny moment that I miss, brings the heavy hand of sadness along with it. I wish I could make you understand that I’m doing this for you, but you’re too young to fully grasp at everything just yet.
The doctor’s said that six weeks was enough time to heal, but that wasn’t quite true. My life changed the day I met you. I thought I knew love when I met your father, but meeting you showed me how much I loved being a family. With the restless nights and painful trials of motherhood, I’ve never felt so whole, so complete before.
And then, I was forced to leave you.
Six weeks wasn’t enough time. My wounds reopened in different spots now—more particularly, a new wound opened in my chest where the dragging thump of my heartbeat lies. Six weeks wasn’t long enough to keep away from crunching numbers to pay the bills. I’d give anything for more time with you, but Mommy has to make sure your future is ready for the man you’ll become.
So I’ll keep making you smile and laugh, and I’ll stay at home with you until the very last minute I can just to make it through the hours that you’re not by my side while I’m away.
I promise little man, I’ll always be looking out for you no matter what keeps me from seeing your smile.