On Mother’s Day it seems appropriate to talk about love, as when you strip everything else back, that’s what motherhood is to me. I’m sure that all of us are surprised by it, when it hits us, that overwhelming love for our child. Of course I had heard everyone saying that the love for your child is unlike anything else you can ever experience, but was still totally surprised by it.
It crept up on me at first. I was too busy feeling exhausted and useless and trying to stop both her and myself crying at first, to really notice it. I’m sure it wasn’t until a few weeks later, when I’d find myself alone with her, sat, once again, on our lumpy old sofa, her asleep in my arms as I studied her face, the creaminess of her skin, and the translucence of her eyelids with the blue veins tracing their delicate map of blood, keeping her alive. Her rosebud mouth, calm yet pouting, and the gentlest warm breath of air, flowing in and out. The weight of her, the warmth of her in my arms. And I would feel so much love for this tiny person that it would feel as if my heart was going to burst through my chest, like the weight of this love would surely crush my lungs and stop them from breathing. As I watched her sleeping eyelashes flicker I would be sobbing with this terrible love I felt. And every single breath she took I could feel the love growing and growing and growing, till it filled every single part of the universe, and there was no space for anything else at all, certainly no room for myself in this universe where all there was was love for this little girl. And it was incredible and terrifying and beautiful. As she was too. And every single day as I’d sit with her asleep in my arms, it just kept growing, beyond all the limits of everything that was known. And I certainly couldn’t contain that love. So every time she’d spend a day crying, and I’d spend a day pacing and bouncing and singing, with no sleep, and no food, and a full bladder and an empty head, that love would keep me pacing and bouncing and singing, the ultimate renewable energy source.
As she grew, and started to discover the world for herself, it became more obvious that this love had made me more vulnerable, how every single hurt to her, hurt me so much worse. She breaks my heart on a daily basis, on a moment to moment basis. Every time I see her struggling with her world, as she does so often, it destroys me. I want to be able to make everything easy for her. I want to be able to make her understand what is happening around her and how she fits into this confusing world. I want to make everything ok. And knowing that I can’t do that for her is so painful, but her moments of joy are the most wondrous feelings in the world.
I found it very interesting, with my second child, to yet again have a totally different experience of love. With my boy I knew him, from his very first second. It was like he had always been mine and we had always understood each other. There was no experience of falling in love like with his sister, because I just had always loved him. It was like the knowledge of the ground under your feet, there is no doubt about it because it is the rock that keeps you steady and standing. That is my love for my boy. And my heart never feels like it will break, and I never worry that my lungs will crush, or I will float away into nothingness, because he is what keeps me centred and sure and certain. He has always been with me, part of me, and always will be.
So my perfect pair, my little heart breaker and my little heart healer, one who shows me the infinite and the other who keeps me rooted always to the present. They have shown me more than I could have ever imagined, and I am so grateful.