Running on emptyI grieved. I was afraid. But the most difficult part of all of this was that I was the one who created it.

I was not talking about some writing project. I was talking about a new baby.

My first child sobered me into any fantasies I had about having kids. I tasted pain, heartbreak and fatigue. I knew my dreams would take a backseat. I knew it would be a sacrifice. I didn’t know if I was worthy of doing it again. I didn’t know if I had the energy to be even “good enough.”

I’m often surprised by the amount of things you can get done when you’re running on a few hours asleep. Some days, I feel like someone is gnawing at my brain. All. I. Want. Is. Sleep.

On bad days, I feel resentment bubbling to the surface. In my computer, there are several files that haven’t been touched in weeks. I think about those moments of fear and regret I had when I was pregnant. I still have them.

But I feel something sprouting beneath the surface. I don’t feel like I’m teaching my children. I feel like they are molding me. They are cracking me open in every sigh, tantrum and wide-eyed begging to be seen.

I cannot eat, google or text my way out of the two-year old staring at me screaming to make me see that this is one single moment. Whether good or bad, this one will be gone. And so will the next one. And the next. Will I be able to remember them? Will I be able to savor those sweet chubby toes and those adorable sayings or will they shrink into one long day filled with shouting, ignoring and invalidating statements because I couldn’t let go of the me before them?

Sure, my dreams of publishing a children’s book one day is real. It’s important. But the lessons they have in store for me are paramount. Because if I don’t get it, if I don’t surrender into the love I’ve got now, I know I will regret it. I will spend a lifetime wishing I could redo a childhood that was gone in a blink of an eye. I have only two chances to live childhood. One’s dead and gone. The other is through the eyes of my children.

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