There is no progress report. No test or score or grade. Everyday, I fumble and guess my way through, hoping that the choices and decisions and moves I make are the right ones. The good ones. The best ones I can muster. And every night, as I lay in bed releasing the breath I’ve been holding since morning, I pray that today, I was enough.
How can I measure myself as her mother? She speaks, her own language, the beautiful babbled nonsense of the toddling, but her words don’t quiet the voice. The whisper, ever so slight, ever present, doubting. Will the voice ever stop? The first month, it was deafening, buzzing, maddening. With each passing month, my growing confidence drowned out the voice. I stopped worrying about right, and focused on best. For her. And we did it, he and her and I.
I’ve made a list, of the ways I measure myself. She laughs, freely and with pure abandon, more than she cries; she smiles, her lovely face-covering smile, even in her sleep; she asks for hugs and to hold my hand, even if we’re just sitting on the floor reading a book; when I hold her close, she whispers in my ear, “mama, mama”, her breath sweet on my cheek. When I find myself listening too closely to the voice, I look at her, and her eyes tell me all I need to know. Her hands, holding tightly to mine, her laugh ringing through the house, her beautiful babbling nonsense: she tells me all I need to know.
I am her mother. I am imperfect, but this she does not know. I am scared, but she can’t see it. She can’t hear the voice. She can only hear me. And that is enough. I am enough.
Of this, I am confident.