Monday, November 16, 2009
One of the things I was always told was that my love would be different. Of the things that I was told would change when I had my own child, this is the one that left me the most puzzled. Many of you know I was a nanny for at least five years full time, but still consider myself one today as Cassandra and Nicholas will always be "my children". When I would tell people that I loved Cass and Nick so much, many times the response was like everything else, "wait til you have your OWN kids." Of course, as is always the case with this response, I am left speechless. How does one argue with that when one doesn't have children? I wondered about how people who had adopted children would have felt had they heard this statement. I wondered how I could possibly worry or feel anything deeper than what I was feeling for them? I wondered if the nightmares I had about them getting hurt would be even more scary after having my own child.
This was one area that did not make me upset, but instead more curious, was it possible to have an even greater love than I did.
But were they right.... yes and no.
Elijah is my life, along with my husband, he is everything to me. Do I love him more than Cass and Nick? I can honestly say I don't. He occupies his own space in my heart, one I never knew was there, one I never knew so desparately needed to be filled, but it is his own place and it is not comparable to the space Cassandra holds, or Nicholas, or my husband for that matter.
But Elijah has given me something I have never felt before. I am not exaclty sure how I explain it. Sometimes it is not all that pleasant, but mostly it is what gives me a purpose. It is a feeling deep down in my gut, to the core of who I am as a person. It is where all my worry comes from, where all my attentiveness originates. I know for certain it will NEVER go away. No matter where Elijah is on this Earth, that feeling will go with him. One of these wise mothers once told me, "Having a child is like having your heart walk around outside your body." Absolutely!
Now instead of worrying about Cass and Nick when certain events spur it or once in a while, I now worry all the time. It is a constant feeling of being on guard, being mama bear. Now instead of having nightmares, I have them during the day, very vivid visions of what could happen to Elijah in each moment.
When he is asleep at night, I am constantly listening through a baby monitor for the sounds of our windows being opened and rarely does an hour go by that I don't check his breathing.
The other day, we walked past a dog, something I have done many times with children in my life. I used to always have the children ask the owner before approaching the animal to make sure the animal was safe, but this time I had a vision of Elijah's foot being bitten off by this dog. I am not kidding, these visions haunt me. I am cautious every minute of my day, some people might even say paranoid. And it is not just a thought about what could happen, but a literal video playing before my eyes.
So the intensity is different and I think it comes from the responsibility that comes with having your own child. I love Cass and Nick with my whole heart, being away from them makes me physically ill, and thinking they may be sad makes me want to fix it immediately, but like all the children in my life before Elijah, they have their own parents. Parents whose job it is to take care of them when I am not there and whether or not I have liked this in the past, whose influence will ultimatley matter more than mine.
That is not the case with Elijah, other than his father, I will have the single most important role in his young life. His safety, health, happiness, and the person he becomes is shaped by me more than any other person.
What an awesome and awe inspiring thing that is.
Is that the same as loving more... maybe.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
So many times I heard that little phrase, "just wait..." and oh how it bugged me. I couldn't argue with it, never wanted to argue with the fact that a mother knows best, but the implication was what left a bitter taste in my mouth. Many people I am sure have said it with nothing but the best of intentions for what I would experience in the future, but I know there were some for whom it was a way out. A way out of listening to what I had to say, a way out of hearing something that might make them question how they had parented in the past, and also a way of discrediting me. The underlying implication whether meant altruistically or not was that my values and ideals for children would some how change when I became a mom or if they didnt change, then I would realize that it was too hard to live a life with children around them.
But still, were they right...?
I think I always knew that part of what they were saying was absolutely correct and I also knew it would depend on what the topic was. So far...sometimes they were dead on and other times, completely off base.
So for everyone who could not wait to see the day that I became a mother and had to live what I have preached for so many years, this blog is for you. A snipit into my life as a mom and how it shapes me as a person as I journey through each period in my beautiful baby's life and yes....
NOW I KNOW.