The Hardest Thing
The other day Owlet fell asleep in my arms while nursing. I held her until my arms grew numb, then gently woke her to preserve sacred bedtime.
“What is the hardest thing?” asked Owlet, drowsy and rosy-cheeked from the unexpected nap.
“Huh?” I asked, as sleep-blurry toddler speech can sometimes sound like one thing and mean another. “Did you say, ‘what is the hardest thing?'”
“Yes.” And she waited expectantly.
Death. Losing a child. Losing a parent, or a spouse. Violence. War. Illness and poverty. I am big on no-bullshit, age-appropriate honesty with kids, but it took a stumbling heartbeat for me to flip from mourner to mother.
I knelt, centering myself in her rich hazel eyes. “Not being with someone you love. That’s the hardest thing.”
And it really pretty much is.