I was putting my kids to bed when Emma said something to me. For her, as a small child, not even a full toddler, it meant nothing more than what she said. But to me, it meant everything and more.
I picked her up and placed her head on my shoulder the way I always do before I put the kids in their crib. I hugged her tight and rocked her, patting her back and telling her I love her. I expected her to respond with her normal “I you” (I love you) or “Ni-night?” or even “Minnie?” but instead, she patted my back, the same way I was doing to her and said, “You mine?”
I smiled. I smiled so incredibly big, because she had no idea how true those words were. Yes, I told her, I am yours. She repeated herself. “You mine?” As she patted my back and nestled into the crook of my neck. I held her a little tighter than I had before and the camera in my mind went off like the paparazzi, telling myself to remember this moment forever.
The thing is, for Emma, all it meant is that I was her mama. But I realized that over the years, that would change. I wouldn’t just be her mama. I wouldn’t just be Oliver’s mama. I would be so much more. As they grow, I adapt, I change, I become everything they want or need even if they don’t know it at the time.
Right then, in that moment, I was her mama. The one that was snuggling her brother a minute before I had grabbed and snuggled her. I was the one that would lay her down and give her the sippy she only likes when she’s laying down. I was the one that would tuck her in with her blankie, her pillow, and her Minnie (Minnie or Mickey. They’re both the same to her). In that moment, I was just her caretaker, the lover, the mama, the boobie lady, but those words, “You mine?” mean so much more for the rest of her life, for the rest of mine.
In the next couple years, I’ll be their mama, the ouchie healer, the hand that feeds them. I’ll be the one that puts them to bed, tucked in safely and I’ll be the one that grabs them from the crib to greet them in the morning. But, I’ll also be the one that tells them no. No to the danger, no to the things that make me worry, no to the things that I wish so badly they already understood was dangerous. I’ll be the one that makes them their food, and makes them eat it despite their incredibly (and sudden) picky eating habits. I’ll be their discipline, their guide, the part of the one that helps mold them. I’ll be theirs.
But, it’s not just me either, it’s my husband too. Because he’s in this with me. And he is theirs as well. Together, we make up the fundamentals that mold their morals, the ones that support them, that cherish them, the ones that make them laugh those incredibly infectious belly laughs that echo through the house. Because we are theirs.
As they grow, we will be a lot of things. Their support. Their parents. Their conscious. We will be the ones that protect them, no matter what the cost. We will be their sounding board, the hand that rubs their back, the mouth that whispers the soothing words when they’re not feeling their personal best. My husband will be the one that interrogates the brave person who asks our daughter on a date. And he will be the same one that high fives our son when he asks a person out for the first time. I’ll be the one that, despite the teenage attitude, will be there listening with my full undivided attention when Emma has gossip to tell me, about her crushes, about friends, about whatever is in her heart. And I’ll be the one that teaches Oliver the way he should treat women, the way he should treat people. My husband will be there to show them both what they should want in a marriage, how he should treat people, and he will be there to protect them in the ever macho way that he will. Because he loves them the way I do; with our entire beings.
At some point, we will be the things we least desire as well. The parents to the teenagers who roll their eyes when we ask for hugs. The ATM. The ones they take out their emotions on. The ones they take for granted as they grow into their own. The ones they don’t listen to when we try to pass on our wisdom we learned over the years. We will be the ones that embarrass the hell out of them as teenagers, because what kind of parents would we be if we didn’t? We will be the things we disliked in our own families growing up, because that’s what teenagers do; they love their family, and they know that their families will always be there, no matter what their attitude is like that day.
But no matter what happens. No matter what roller coaster we ride through life. The bumps. The trials. The tough times. We will always be theirs. I will always will Emma and Oliver’s Mama. And Kirby will always be their Dad. And they will always be our world.
The word mine and theirs never had a more important definition than now, than today, when I realized that my kids are starting to realize who we are to them. And today, they may only understand the simple roles we play in their lives, but one day, they’ll understand that we are theirs, because they are ours. They are our everything. They are our frustrating, determined, incredibly, intelligent, entertaining, loving, phenomenal children. They are ours.
They. Are. Ours.
“You mine?” She asks, and I want to tell her, “Yes baby girl. I am yours, but you and Oliver, are mine. My everything. My heart. My life.”
And one day I will. Until then, I have this moment written down for proof, that one that they will read this, one day they’ll understand, no matter what is happening in life, no matter what choices they make, they are our entire world, our entire heart, our entire reason for breathing.
You are mine, I am yours, and the love you two bring me has given the word happiness a new definition.