For the Smiles

Once upon a time there was a woman who loved her child dearly. Despite the wretched time she had during pregnancy, she told everyone it was the greatest occasion of her life.  After the horrendous time of labouring, she lied to others about the pain of birth. She told people that the excruciating memory had faded because of the miraculous gift she had got in return for it.

Once bringing home her little bundle of joy she was terrified. Terrified now that she would have to keep a living being alive and well. Terrified that she would not do a sufficient job of raising this babe that seemed so small and helpless.

The woman did not sleep for months. Always in a current state of half awakened hell. She cried in times of exhaustion, and laughed hysterically when laughing would not be viewed as a normal response. The woman, as she saw herself, had lost her once stable mind.

With every move made, every extreme act of foolishness done, she questioned her sanity. And in the back of her mind she wondered if she was fit to raise this child.

Once baby had reached the stage of walking, her stresses only increased. The woman one day, after having to stick her fingers down the child’s throat to remove a penny that had been consumed in a moment of solitude, got down on her hands and knees and attempted to look through the eyes of a one year old.

She crawled around on that floor for over an hour doing her best to baby proof the home she had already thought was proofed enough. By the end of her plight, with aching legs and a dizzy head, she felt she still had not done justice to the sweep, so in the playpen her child stayed until the fear of choking on some unknown object dissipated in her mind.

The toddler years of the child’s life proved even more difficult. When she was not dealing with temper tantrums in the grocery store, whilst other childless adults looked upon her with scorn filled glances, she was cleaning up bodily feces from her futile attempts at potty training.

The child’s adolescents came quickly, before the woman could notice how fast time can truly pass. The child began shouting dreadful things at the woman. The woman felt hurt and bedraggled, feeling that she had failed as a Mother somewhere down the road that landed them at this exact point in time.

The child spent more time with friends and less time with the woman. The child’s grades in school began to slip. The Mother worried in almost every waking moment about her child. She tried to think back upon those first few weeks of the child’s life, she wondered what she had been worried about back then…A time when all seemed so pure, so natural.

Although attempts at straightening out the child were made, they were always in vain. The more attention the woman gave to child, the more ghastly trouble the child would delve into.

The woman knew in the back of her mind, that she must let life’s course run its own way.

The woman went on with her life. She picked up hobbies that had been left by the wayside. She reconnected with friends she had not spoken to in years, she found that her life indeed was not over but just a new chapter beginning.

All the while, keeping a discreet eye on the child. Always watching from a distance.

Some time later, the child finished university. The child had met a significant other in this time, and had news to bring forth to the woman.

The child that once was just a wee babe, in which the woman was terrified of, was going to have a child of her own.

The woman cried tears of joy as she heard the news.

9 months and some weeks later, the child called the woman. The child told the woman between sobs of fatigue that she was scared, tired and asked how the woman did it so many years ago?

The woman told her child,

“How did I do it you ask?

Well at first, I did it because you were helpless. I did it to sustain you, I did it because deep down this instinct surfaced, telling me it was the only thing to do at the time.

Then I did it for your smiles. Each time I was rewarded with a smile, I knew my purpose in life was to do anything I could for you.

I did it with a mothers strength, fueled by a love that is impenetrable.

I did it because I knew that although my love for you was always unconditional, yours for me could fade away.

There were times of stress and anger and anxiety and worry…So much worry. But again that instinct of greater things would come to me, not quite telling me why but simply saying ‘push on, keep going, this is not the end’ and I would listen.

This feeling that you’re having right now, this feeling of inferiority, it will never be done. Always will you wonder if you could have done something more, something wiser.

But know this dear child, you are that child’s mother. You know best. You will strive through, and remember these days with thoughts that are fond. You will one day miss the days of infants and sleepless nights. One day you will crave the sound of toddler feet on the hardwood, school plays and parent teacher interviews. You will wonder where the time went and how fast your child grew to be a teen. You will cherish the once-in-a-while- talks that you indulge in with that teen, because it won’t happen often.  

And then the day will come when your child will call you, tired and broken. Needing advice on how to deal with a cranky newborn, you will smile softly to yourself as you reminisce on the days in which you spent in their current shoes.

I did it for you. I did it out of the foresight I had in regards to your life and the prophetic memories I knew would one day be made.

But the first smile, that is when it all really started. Those first beautiful smiles.”



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