The Loneliest Mother I've Seen

The Loneliest Mother I've Seen

I see your eyes duck our way more times than I can count.

Kids spilling off my lap, I steady myself against my husband’s leg and we laugh as the hay ride tosses us back and forth.

As you tuck your bare left hand behind the bleach-blonde head in your lap, I read her shirt.

Birthday Girl Your parents take pictures of the two of you but your eyes belie the smile on your face.

I wonder if you have just finished high school or are heading to college this fall. Maybe you have put school on hold until you can afford daycare and tuition.

The day is beautiful and should be special for you but I can almost read your mind as you sneak another glance at my family.

You are dreaming of a ring on your finger, more babies in your arms and a birthday party overflowing with guests.

I wish I could sit at your side and help you enjoy the Now because you are what your daughter will remember.

She will know the comfort of your lap, dancing on the couch, heart-shaped sandwiches, the shiny pink boots you let her wear despite the 80-degree temperature and the melody of “Happy Birthday” leaving your lips.

You are all she needs.

You are enough.

And I was too.

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