“Well, she said, pushing her macaroni aside so she could lean forward across the table on her five-year-old elbows. “It’s when your kids grow up and then you have to give them away.”
It was hard to stifle a laugh.
I explained that mothers don’t actually give their children away–although lord knows some have considered it, oh, say at the 0-3 month month mark when an hour of uninterrupted sleep seems less likely than a Yeti in a bridal veil walking through your front door, sitting on the sofa and asking for some chamomile tea.
“In fact,” I said,” I think that while it’s a little sad when the kids leave the house, it might be one of the happiest parts of being a parent. It’s when we know we’ve done a good job raising wonderful kids that become wonderful adults, and now they are ready to go try more things on their own without us.”
“So what is the hardest thing of being a mother?” she asked.
A range of snarky answers flashed through my head, but it just didn’t seem the time.
“Knowing you might ever be hurt or sad or in pain. A mother feels all of it right along with you, maybe even worse. We’d rather take it all away from you and have it ourselves if we could. As much love that we feel, that’s how much pain we can feel too, if it’s yours. So I think that’s the hardest part of being a mother.”
“Like when I hurt my knee in the playground today!” Sage said.
“Yes. Just like that.”
We ended the night with Sage telling me she loved me infinity, and then Thalia one-upping Sage with infinity times infinity times infinity, and then Sage explaining that that’s not possible because there’s only one infinity and it’s already the biggest, and Thalia saying she really didn’t care.