“I want to be you when I grow up, Mommy.”
These 10 words may be the most moving sentiment that every mama dreams her little girl will say to her one day.
But here’s the honest truth: As much as it melted my heart and I will forever hold that sentence near and dear, it’s hard to live up to. I have four tiny pairs of eyes who look up to me every single day.
Those little eyes watch me like a hawk. They see me handle things with such grace and composure, and they also see me lose my temper when I no longer can find an ounce of patience in the thick of motherhood.
Those little eyes have seen me in what they would consider some heroic moments of rescuing them when they have fallen off their bikes or when they have scuffed their knees after running too fast down the sidewalk. Yes, it’s in the tiniest rescues that they’ve looked at me as if I were a superhero. But they’ve also seen me weak and at times completely unraveled.
Those little eyes look at me at least once a day in total admiration and with pride that they get to call me “Mommy.” And it’s safe to say they probably look at me at least once a day with frustration because I can’t (nor will I) meet all of their needs and requests as they see fit.
Those little eyes have seen Mommy fail, complain, and come close to giving up when things got tough. But, likewise, they have seen Mommy push past her own limits and achieve success, and by god, I pray that they will recognize that they’ve never met anyone with dreams and faith as big as hers.
Those little eyes are on me even when I don’t realize they’re watching me, and since the day they placed my first baby upon my chest, I officially became a role model, a caretaker, someone’s on-call-heroine, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
So when my little girl said, “I want to be you when I grow up, Mommy,” I bent down to look her square in the eyes, kissed her nose, pulled her in tight, and as tears streamed down my face, the only thing I could think to reply with was, “Baby, Mommy wants you to be you when you grow up. Never change. Just…stay…you.”