If I could take away the needle pricks, the million question that never change—name, birthday, address, how long have you been experiencing seizures—I would.

If I could crawl in the hospital bed and stay there for a month so that you could sleep in your own bed, listening to your youngest two chattering through the wall, I would.

If I could drag the I.V. pole and the portable electrodes monitor with me every time I went to the bathroom, I would. I’d offer my own hair if I could. If they’d take mine instead, I would.

If I could make it all go away, I would. Because that’s what mothers do.

But sometimes, as much as we want to, we can’t make it go away. So we bury our guilt, our fears, our feelings of failure because we can’t make it better so you won’t see. Moms are supposed to make it all better. That’s what mothers do.

Before you were his wife or their mother, you were my daughter. From the moment I learned of your existence, I worried about you. After you were born, I worried every time you were out of sight. And tomorrow the surgeon will have you for six hours and you’ll be out of my sight that entire time. When they tell us afterward everything went fine and you can see her in an hour or two, or however they chose to quantify the time—that time—the time when they won’t let me hold your hand, or stroke your cheek, or hug you—will be the hardest hours I’ve ever lived.

But I’ll pace the hospital floor holding my breath, being strong, keeping the faith. Because that’s what mothers do.

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