River of Stones: Day 7
My baby boy is taller than me. My first born son is taller than me. He’s 14 and taller than me. He has an Adam’s apple and arm pit hair. His voice has changed. He’s taller than me. He wakes in the morning and still wants to snuggle. He asks me to make him oatmeal for breakfast.
Motherhood wasn’t something I pretended. I had a Baby Tender Luv doll, a cherubic, peroxide blonde infant version of Marilyn Monroe. I didn’t pretend I was her mother and she was my baby. I pretended she was “sick” and needed surgery. I pretended she was a captive hostage needing special forces or the Mission Impossible team to come rescue. I pretended she was a giant, like Jack, who crushed my village of blocks and Matchbox cars. Occasionally, she made an improvised football. I still have her.
Motherhood is the most profound experience…at least for me. I have written about this quite a bit over the years here. Motherhood brought me to my faith. Motherhood taught me about true love. Motherhood healed some of the deepest wounds and revised some of the ugliest scars. I don’t lay these events on my sons. It wasn’t because of them I felt this way. It came out of me. Motherhood, like the seeds planted inside me that grew into separate and distinct people, was planted and grew inside my own heart, into a fundamental awareness of how whole and complete a love can be. I have never loved a person by choice the way I loved my babies: without condition. And having a second child made me fear diminishing and halving the love I had for my number one. I cannot explain the exponential miracle of compounding my capacity for love. When my second came, it was like a whole new, hidden wing in my heart was discovered. Love multiplied. I understand why I had such an intense urge for a third child. At that stage in my life, the love I felt had shrunk or been withdrawn. As the child, the love I felt that should come naturally and organically was stripped away. I cannot fathom any way or anything that can strip the love I have for my sons away. I do not think I could stop loving them if I wanted to (and unfortunately, there are circumstances you wish you could stop loving them. I have watched this first hand. Children do not love parents with the same unconditionality. And so when a child breaks your heart, it is like the amalgam of every heartbreak received from a lover rolled into a Katamari blob, rolled across the universe, collecting every star, asteroid, planet. The heartbreak is colossal. And so yes…you wish you could stop loving them.)
But, oh the joy. The humility. I am proud of what my sons do. I am proud of who they are becoming but I do not take pride in them. I am humbled by them, humbled by the blessing and gift. The trust and faith that I was capable of this magnitude of love stops me, takes my breath away.
And my second son just came to me as I write this post. Came and asked me to come snuggle.