It was a night just like any other.
Like most evenings, I was rushing through my three kids’ bedtime routine—aching for just a bit of me-time to watch Scandal or catch up with Instagram before dozing off.
I lay in almost complete darkness beside my four-year-old. I wasn’t fully present as she ran her soft, little fingertips through my cheeks. I was counting down the minutes and summoning the last bit of patience when she suddenly said,
“Mami, you’re my superhero”.
Not quite sure where that very grand statement had come from I replied, “Aw, baby. YOU are my superhero”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big sucker for nice compliments—after all, I belong in the universal club of underappreciated, overworked, always-frazzled moms. But for some reason, those sweet words left me feeling inadequate.
Did she know that as she looked at me with love and admiration in her eyes, all I truly wanted was to stare into a 50-inch screen?
Did she know that her whining when her little brother destroys her LEGO towers is nothing short of my emotional kryptonite?
Did my daughter know that when I wake her up with a kiss in the morning and wrestle her sleepy limbs into leggings and t-shirts, I’m barely coping? That I try to string together coherent sentences as I wonder if I'm sleepwalking or awake?
Did my daughter know that when she decides to skip breakfast all-together – I don't choose not to fight her so as not to hurt her feelings? I let her go because I just don’t have it in me.
Did she know I let her watch TV for a couple hours on weekends because I need a break from running after her, feeding her, changing her and explaining every single thing I do to her?
Did she know that as she grows up, I’m totally winging this parenting career?
That I still have so much to learn about loving myself and loving others?
That when I raise my voice at her and watch her tear up, I feel like the meanest villain?
That even though I look like Wonder Woman to her—invincible, brave and confident-- there is still so much in this life that scares and intimidates me?
That even though I can make her feel like she’s safe inside the forcefield of love I built just for her and her siblings, life’s challenges will always try to break through and threaten that cozy, safe feeling?
As I slowly cover my daughter with her princess sheets and run my hand through her frizzy hair, I choose to savour those words just a tad bit more. She doesn’t know the entirety of me – who knows if she ever will – but despite my motherly imperfections, knowing that to her I am a hero helps me cut myself some slack. If she thinks I’m a hero, then I certainly can be better.