During our last conversation, we spoke in pieces of our life through the noise of our children yelping. We carried on while breaking up fights and calming tantrums. There was a moment of silence on your end, when you finally uttered how hard it has been for you. “I don’t even feel like myself lately,” you told me quickly before you realized the silence was more suspicious than tranquil and you had to investigate where it was coming from. I told you I understood, but then turned my attention to my toddler, who stood in front of me crying because he couldn’t find his blanket. I never got the chance to explain what I meant when I said, “I completely understand.”
We met in high school. I knew you when you went to school with a black flip-flop on one foot and a black flat on the other, on accident. We laughed without breathing for a good two minutes that day. I knew you when we made less-than-refined music videos to Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.” I knew you when our concerns didn’t have to go past ourselves; and I understood you then, like I understand you now.
I remember the gut-wrenching cries when you questioned your worth, because a boy didn’t value his own. When you struggled to feel significant. I understood you then, like I understand you now.
Maybe there’s no easy response. Parts of life, we struggle with. But I hope there’s solace in knowing someone understands you. All of us mothers, we’re doing this together. We understand why we don’t talk every day, and we have grace with each other knowing exactly why the other took three weeks to finally call us back.
Because I know the frustration you feel with back-to-back tantrums. I know what it’s like to want freedom, a moment to just be with yourself, and then feel guilty for it. I know what it’s like to go to the bathroom and have it feel like a quiet vacation sometimes, until the fingers start poking through the bottom of the bathroom door. I know the longing you feel for your husband when you both are in the same room. I know the way you compare yourself to others and the way it destroys you. I know the impossible love you feel for your children, and I understand the ways in which you’d bend and shape yourself for them. I know the fear that comes with raising a little human and the joy that comes with it too.
I understand you now, like I’m sure I will 20 years from now, when our children are grown and the anticipation of grandparent-hood possibly awaits us. I will meet you there, and I will understand you then too.