And it is another restless night. And I wish my husband was home this week, instead of on the opposite side of the country. If he were here, even if he slept through all the girls' troubles, he would pull me close every time I lay back down, and I would feel stronger in his arms. But he isn't here, and I don't feel strong, and when the cries wake me up again at 4 am, there is a moment of despair, a moment of complete exhaustion.
Then the tiny one inside me moves, as restless as we all are tonight, and my soul remembers that I am a mother. That I don't have to be strong to be the mother my children need tonight, I just have to love them.
So I go to her, the hurting daughter whose cries have woken me again, and I love her. I hold her, and whisper to her, and she clings to me and whispers back to me. Broken whispers that tell of pain and trust and love, as her tears wet my shoulder and I stroke her hair.
Through the years I feel myself the child again, crying into my mother's shoulder in the night and knowing that as long as she was holding me, I would be okay. And I realize this -- that no matter how tired, how broken, how weak I feel, love makes me strong enough to be the mother my daughter needs right now.