My son is my world and if he is upset, then I'm upset. I don't know how to separate our two emotional states. I try to remain calm and not take on his tears, but I find it almost impossible. When he smiles, I am grinning from ear to ear. When he cries, I am hurting on the inside like someone is twisting a knife in my chest.
Last night, after another rough day, he went to bed at his normal bedtime. But this time, he cried so hard. This is very unusual for him. He doesn't normally cry at bedtime. He has always been easy to put down for naps and nighttime. He cried for 45 minutes!
My husband and I don't agree with the just-let-them-cry-until-they-pass-out method, so I went in every few minutes to check on him and comfort him. It was killing me to hear him so upset. I rocked him, I kissed him, I hugged him. The third time I went in, the floor in front of his crib was soaking wet from his tears!! Talk about a knife in the chest!
After the fourth time I checked on him, he finally fell asleep. And as soon as I realized that he was sleeping, I broke down into the tears I had been wanting to cry all day. I cried from relief for him and myself, from exhaustion, and of course, like every mother, from guilt. Guilt that I hadn't been a good enough mother to keep him from having his meltdowns the past two days, guilt that I hadn't been creative enough to keep him entertained, guilt from wishing I could have an afternoon to myself, guilt for being aggravated, guilt for not being one of those mothers who can remain soft spoken and calm, guilt for every little damn thing.
I've learned that being a mother isn't always a breeze and it isn't always a storm. But it is always worth the tears, the frustration, the stormy days. I wouldn't trade being a mother for the world. My son's existence in this world has shown me a love that is bigger and more unconditional than I ever knew was possible with human beings. My love for him has left me raw and vulnerable. I can't kiss him enough. I can't hug him enough. And even on days like yesterday when I couldn't wait for him to go to bed, I missed him like crazy the minute he fell asleep.
Ah, motherhood. I love you, buddy.