Sometimes, I guard my heart against the good things. I fear that by grasping too tightly, I’ll shatter what I hold dear and its tiny shards will cut my empty hands.
If I am honest with myself, I think I began my life as a mother this way. Tentative. Cautious. Holding my breath so I could hear his. I read too many tragic stories, wept over other mothers’ losses. If they didn’t deserve the cruel hurt, what would protect me? I felt I was too happy and hopeful for my own good.
And then, the first time I saw my baby boy — aside from the few brief moments he was pressed to my chest — he was connected to tubes and wires and, well, we haven’t exactly had an easy start. An emergency surgery. Another trip to the E.R. this month for an allergic reaction. Wondering: Is this the day our little world will come crashing down?
But each morning, he’s here. Now reaching for a string, chewing on a block, waving, babbling, launching himself forward but not quite crawling. Standing, squealing, picking up pieces of sweet potato and pear and pasta and navigating them to his mouth. We laugh and joke. I wonder how it’s possible.
I see him with my grandfather and marvel that they should share the same days, however limited those may be. I think often of my grandfather’s mother, loving him as I do my own small son. I wonder how we have the courage to put people on the earth, hoping we will leave them first. Hoping that they will know their great-grandchild’s hand in their own. Knowing nothing is a guarantee.
Maybe there’s a formula in quantum physics that can explain the ever widening part of my heart where he lives, but for me it’s a little bit of independence for us both. I am happy; I am embracing his life and my own experiences, the overwhelming immensity of motherhood and my own daily moments.
P.S. I caught part of this interview on Fresh Air the other day and found it interesting. I could not ask for a better co-parent than Joe, and believe how we navigate our responsibilities and time together has been a critical aspect of fostering a happy house. An interesting listen for parents and prospective parents.