Wednesday, March 24, 2010

magnitude

For the first few months after Rhys and Quin were born, I was certain that throughout the world and throughout history, no mother had ever loved her babies as I loved mine. This thought wasnt a reflection of my opinions about other mothers, it was simply a matter of capacity and an irrational certainty that loving my babies any more than I already did would cause the universe to explode into a hundred billion pieces of sopping, heavy heart. I wasnt prepared for the magnitude of motherhood; the idea that other mothers felt the way that I felt and were able to pull it together and function was completely incomprehensible to me. I looked out at the world, feeling perplexed and at a total loss in trying to make sense of the suddenly re-written familiar. Images Ive seen hundreds, thousands of times immediately took on new meaning. Commercials about the starving children in Africa, news stories about a runaway teenage boy, television dramas about kidnappings and murders. Although Ive always considered myself a compassionate person, it suddenly seemed as though my former self must have been a cold and heartless shell of a human being to be able to stomach these ideas without urgently forming what had recently become my inescapable conclusion: somebodys baby. That is somebodys baby.

As time has passed, Ive become slightly more acclimated to the experience of being a mother. Of creating life and loving beyond the bounds of understanding. I have come to realize that as much as I love my babies, it is not only possible, but in fact quite likely that other mothers love their babies just as much. Initially, that realization stung a bit. Then the stinging turned into an emphatic, huh. And now amazement. What a collective power.

I suppose thats what knocked me off my center in the first place. Human beings. Creating them. Raising them. Loving them. The impact that we make on the world and on one another. Single influential individuals, good and evil. Martin Luther King. Gandhi. Hitler. Joint movements for change. The Emancipation Proclamation. The suffragettes. The daily fabric of our world, individual lives woven together in a delicate yet inescapable chain reaction. Its not just about mothers. Its about all of us and all of our actions and all of the beautiful and mundane details of life. But right now I can only speak as a mother. I want to hold on to this moment; here, where I sit and see the magnitude of what I hold in my hands. Two babies, for whom I simply want peace and love and true happiness. Two babies, who make me want to mold the world into a place that welcomes and nurtures and is safe.

I know that in time I may become desensitized. We havent hit the terrible twos yet. I have never attempted to parent a teenager. Just as Ive slowly come to realize that the universe is not in danger of explosion under the pressure of my love, perhaps in time I will feel at ease with the fragility of it all. But for now I am here. Writing to ask myself to remember what it felt like, peering out at the world with my babies wrapped tightly in my arms.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wait until you start crying when you see razor commercials featuring dads and their kids. It's not something I'm proud of, but I have made my peace with it.

xoxo

Ursula

freckletree. said...

looks like you found that acid.

see why i went crazy? you are actually handling it pretty well in comparison.

also, i am officially threatening to call you if you don't make contact within 48 hours.

Babes Mami said...

After I had my son everything changed. The world looked completely different. I knew it would change but I was not prepared for how much. He is 8 months old and my love for him still amazes and stuns me.

Also per the comment above I also cry at commercials, there is a car insurance one where the 16 year old boy gets his license...gets me everytime.

Daryl said...

Beautifully expressed, a keeper, one you will look back on and feel very good about

unschoolingrocks said...

I have felt just like that too.
Very beautifully written.

unschoolingrocks said...

I have felt just like that too.
Very beautifully written.

Sarah said...

hi, i recently found your blog through facebook and love it. I'm a twin, and your stories really make me feel for my Mum :-)
I have a new 2 month old, and "That is somebody’s baby." is exactly how I feel, too.

Cassie said...

Well said!

I love that feeling. Rationally you know others feel the same but inside you cannot believe anyone could love the way you do.

Tessa said...

I love this post! I felt/feel the exact same way. And IMO terrible twos aren't realy. They are the terrific twos! Yes they start to assert a little more independence but it's still completely incredible watching your child grow and go through all these wonderful phases! A good friend who has kids ranging from nearly 2 to 22 says that it doesn't go away. Even when they're teenagers and even when they're grown and married.
I have a hard time imagining life can get any better and that I can love him more. But then I wake up the next day and look into those little blue eyes and he not only recaptures my heart, he expands my capacity to love!