When facing a challenge in life where I feel unsteady on my feet, I remind myself of two things:
1. I am a mom.
2. I can do anything.*
OK, not technically anything.
I cannot cartwheel. It’s no longer happening.
I also cannot speak another language, walk in high heels or swallow large pills.
And I can’t successfully do math in my head, or on paper for that matter.
But here’s what I can do:
I can entertain two small children, alone on an eight-hour flight, without being ejected.
I can walk around my silly hipster neighborhood with a greasy ponytail, no makeup and an outfit that is part pajamas, part MC-Hammer-sweatpants-from-college and not care what people think.
I can hold my toddler’s legs while he’s getting stitches under his chin for the second time and seem stoic even though my legs are shaking and I’m screaming inside.
I can furtively rearrange all the furniture in our apartment…change my mind…and move it all back before my husband gets home.
I can open the family pickle jar.
I can eat fried chicken like a man.
I can break the news—carefully—to my oldest son that our beloved dog died while he was at school, attempting to explain the concept of heaven with a lump in my throat. And I can suppress my smile when he looks up brightly for a moment through tears, to ask if he can see Houdini’s fossil.
I can dance like a fiend to the Charlie Brown theme song with my children after dinner, in plain view of the neighbors across the street.
I can survive missing the first day of Kindergarten, abroad on an unavoidable business trip, even though I find this more exquisitely painful than childbirth.
I can hold poop. In my bare hands.
And I can wake up each morning excited and happy (though I’m not a morning person) because I get to smell the warm milky smell of two waking boys—who squeeze my neck and kiss me feverishly and have what my husband calls our Morning Love Fest.
As a mother, I can do anything.
Anything that matters.
*The physical act of childbirth, alone, I feel, qualifies mothers as Champions.