For My Best Friend, A Beautiful Mother

for my best friend

I want you to know that I don’t get it, that I can’t get it. And—yet, somehow—I do.

For my best friend who is a mother of two boys and describes her life as a daily Clorox commercial: I see you. You came to our Skype date with a hooded sweatshirt and eyes that you wrestled to keep open. You came and I saw you and I heard you. We laughed and you sighed and we wanted to cry.

Because you’re learning all these tricks to motherhood that I need you to keep in a little book of secrets that you’ll pass down when it’s my turn up to bat.

And about that thing I said about how I’ll send my little ones to you for the phase where they scream at that dark hour of 3 am: I wasn’t kidding.

I don’t know how you do it.

You tell me about the funny moments, too, like the ones when you decide it’s so cute how your oldest just loves sticks. You used to have this rule where he couldn’t bring sticks in the car. And then, this one day, he was so cute, the way he held your hand during a walk and you said, “Buddy, you know you don’t have to hold Mommy’s hand if you don’t want to.” But he wanted to.

So you decided, oh, what the heck, go ahead and bring that stick with you in the minivan. After all, you’re getting so big—I’m sure you know how to peacefully admire your pretty stick in the backseat.

And this is the part where he stabs you in the back.

Well, more literally, he poked you with his pretty stick in the back of your neck while you were driving. You know, trying to get everyone home in one piece.

And this is the part where that rule about the sticks is instantly reinstated. And that thing about the cute kid? Well, maybe he’ll be cute later. Like when he’s sleeping.

When the kids fall asleep, it’s your only chance to catch your breath. I’m keeping a list of all the books that you should read whenever this whole feeding, screaming, and pooping thing comes to an end.

So, for today, if these are the only words you can read, then this is what I want you to know:

I see you. I used to have this fairy named Tillie who would leave me little notes when she saw that I had cried myself to sleep. Today, will you let me be your Tillie? We will call this your little note.

I need you to believe that I was sent to be your Tillie, to assure you that I see you and I hear you. To comfort you and let you know that you are not alone. When your eyes are puffy from crying yourself to sleep, only to get about a two-hour interval of rest before the next scream, read this little note and remember what I was sent to tell you…

Trust. Believe. Brighter days are just ahead.

Remember to smile.

Because you are beautiful.

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