Be here (holiday edition)

mom and magda.jpg

This is the time of year in which every moment is supposed to be wonderful. Sparkly, magical, elf-enhanced. We are counting down, preparing, amping up, and bringing our kids with us in the quest to make every moment count.

But it's not that easy.

You are enough. You already know that; that you're the best parent for your child, that you have everything you need already inside of you. That just by being here you're worth it.

But today is also enough. Even if the only thing you did all day (and all night) was breathe through it. Even if there was nothing special about today. Even if you didn't create magic for your kids, or even connect with them particularly. Even if dinner sucked and you yelled at someone and they yelled back and no happy memories were made. Even if you're not sure you can really do this.

This idea that we're always supposed to be "making memories," it's crap. The concept that somehow it all needs to be quality time, ridiculous. Can you slow down and be in the moment every day? Maybe, if being in the moment is the only thing you have to do.

The truth is that we are building memories every day, even on the crappy days when we don't even try, but they're muscle memories. They're the accumulation of minutes and hours and days and weeks and years of just being here for our kids. I know that if I call out for my mom, she will answer me. Even if she's tired and cranky and disappointed in me. But she'll answer, because she's been answering for 40 years, even when she didn't feel like it. A lot of those times she's answered have been beautiful moments of connection in which I truly felt loved. But a lot of those times she's answered have been totally ordinary, or even exasperated, moments. In which I also truly felt loved, just because she answered.

When our children are little, we're told constantly to cherish every moment. I couldn't. I was too tired and too sad and felt too incompetent at the time to love every second. But somehow, when I think back on those baby and toddler years, all I remember are the good times. The smells of my babies' heads. Sitting up nursing in the quiet darkness, thinking of all the other mothers across the world who were tending their babies right then, too. The smiles and hugs and riding tricycles on the sidewalks of New York in a Batman costume and cowboy hat (the child, not me).

If I had cherished every moment I wouldn't have been able to keep going. I'd have been too exhausted from "creating value." And I have enough delightful memories anyway, just from being there every day. You do, too, I bet.

If you are lying on the floor of your child's room, sobbing, thinking you don't want to do this anymore, do not despair. You are not failing. This is just a day for crying. Some days are for crying. Some are for doing things poorly. Some are for making beautiful memories. And some are so boring that you had no idea what they were for.

Your child just wants you for their own (more than you will ever know). Your child wants you there. Your child wants you to answer, even if what you answer isn't special and sparkly and magical.

You are enough. This day is enough. Just be here.