I take Bella to the park and watch her run around the sandbox. Gingerly she walks on the shifting grains, then with a quick look at me to ensure it won’t swallow her up, she runs full force into it.
Next up is the jungle gym. Across the wooden boards to the slide. I panic and run to where I can grab her as she tries to fly headfirst off it, and catch her to giggles that seem to say, “Yay! I almost gave you a heart attack!”
A squirrel catches her attention and she chases it. Calls of, “BITTA BITTA BYE YI YI YI GA BABA” aren’t convincing enough for him to stop so she can grab his tail. Bella sobs as he runs up at tree and gives him the teary look of I thought you and I could be friends.
She pauses to watch a little girl on the swings. I scoop her up and put her in one, only to have her grab my hands and whimper. I slowly rock her back and forth as she holds on, and glance at the woman next to us. Her little girl looks up at her adoringly as she pushes her. I smile as I think of how quickly these times pass.
I glance down at Bella to see the same look, and in that moment something comes over me. I am flooded with memories of watching moms play with their kids at the park. I remember being a nanny and knowing the looks of complete adoration were saved for their parents. I remember wondering how that would feel one day.
And as I stand there, with Bella’s little hands in mine, squeezing so tight and her eyes fixed on my face, I realize I’m there. I’m one of the women on the playground whose child loves them more than anything in the world.
I’m somebody’s mama. It’s the most humbling, overwhelming, sweetest feeling in the world.