I’ve been writing this post in my head for a long time. And forgive me now, since it, like its topic, will not do justice to my emotions.
For me and many others, the love of a child has no words. There are no accurate ways to discuss the way a child can one day make your heart explode with joy and being-with-oneness and the next, make you want to bang your head against the wall from lack of sleep, confusion and not-knowing-how-to-be. The love of a child is unlike the love of parents, friends, a spouse. I can’t explain why, but it’s just that way. My love for my daughter is the universe. It is whole. It grows. It never empties. It gives me life and hope. It is. I think of her with each heartbeat.
When C was three weeks old my dad and stepmother came to visit us, my stepmother then 6 months pregnant with her first child. Still weary and confused like a new parent, I told them that your own children can, to some degree, not be told how much you love them, because in some ways that weight of emotion, longing and pureness is too much for a child to know; it is the weight of the world. Surely my own parents never did or don’t love me as much as I love my daughter? Or is it from the lack of vocabulary, their own ways of protecting me from that immense responsibility of knowing such a love? Of course you tell your children of your love and you express it, but that root of the love, that intensity, is almost paralyzing.
Every now and then I struggle with how to express my love to my daughter. Well, not struggle, but mentally beat myself up. I don’t want to smother her, yet so often I want to squeeze her and carry her all day. When she was born I thought that I could literally lick her clean. Her smell was unlike anything I had ever been exposed to and was magical. Her sighs and yawns brought tears to my eyes. I had a difficult labor, and by the time the three of us made it to our hospital room, my husband and I looked at one another and broke down, sobbing, holding one another tight, just saying over and over how much we loved her. Every day I look at her and think, “it’s you!” To think, her half of being has been carried in first my mother’s body, then mine. It’s her. It’s love.
I sometimes cry to my spouse at night that one day she will live apart from us, yet I want to raise a strong, independent and assured woman. I sometimes worry that, for whatever reason, she may hate me and remove herself from my life, and I can feel, even as I type this, that emotion like a rusty saw ripping off my arm.
Loving C is beautiful and scary. It is animal. It is everything. I just hope that my words, my hugs, my presence and my spirit can communicate to her what she needs to know. I love you.