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Is it Hard?

His left hand was still swiveling in a pool of water on the kitchen counter, when he touched my side with his right. “Is it hard,” he wanted to know. “Is it hard to be a mother?”

“Hard?” I heard myself sigh. “Is it hard?”

I did not know how to answer for a million women. Because what is hard? Collectively what…is hard? When I looked down at my boy’s brave face, the side of it tipped earnestly toward mine, I realized he had not asked a million women.

He’d asked me.

But…where do I begin? I mean, what’s not hard? Picking your nose with your pinky? Flushing a public toilet?

But I asked him instead, “is it hard to serve others?”

And he shrugged. He thought it probably was.

And so I asked again, “Is it hard to pick up underwear that isn’t yours that’s been under the piano for six days? Is it hard to restraighten the shoes in the laundry room you just straightened, only half of them yours, without anyone noticing? Is it hard to finish abandoned bead crafts, fold all the blankets from the fort, snap your fingers to keep the cat out of the kitchen? Is it hard to hope for a ‘thank you’ and not get one?”

Is it hard?

And he answered for both of us, “sometimes.”

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