I’ve had a few moments lately where I just sit and think about how overwhelmingly I love Evelyne. It hits me when I watch her play, when I kiss her cheeks, and when I lie awake at night. It’s different than I thought it’d be, it consumes me more than I thought it would. And it’s different than the way I love Clay. I’ve definitely had those moments lying awake at night thinking, “My gosh, I love this man. I would die if I didn’t have him.” But with Evelyne, it’s like she’s literally a piece of me.
I remember a quote I heard somewhere that said something like, “Being a parent is having your heart walk around outside of your body.” That’s EXACTLY what it’s like. I remember reading that before I was a parent and thinking, “hmm, how sweet.” But seriously, that’s what it feels like. Like she is my heart…but she’s going to slowly grow and separate from me and one day be walking around in the world without me. And I’ll just be sitting there wondering where my heart went.
I remember the night she was born. In the middle of the night she woke me to nurse, and afterward I held her. Her legs were curled-up in the fetal position and she was so tiny. It hit me that she was in that exact position INSIDE me just a few hours before. All of a sudden I realized that the first separation in our relationship had already happened, and life would be a series of separations. I cried and cried…. I cried that she was no longer literally connected to and inside me…I cried that she would get bigger than she was at that moment…I cried that one day she was going to go off to college! The girl was only about 12 hours old, and I was bawling that she would grow-up and leave me!
And the thought that something could ever happen to her…. that’s what I lie awake trying to avoid thinking about. That’s what makes it a scary love. All love leaves us vulnerable to pain, and the more you love, the more possibility you will be hurt. I would die if something happened to Clay, but if something happened to Evelyne…. it would be like cutting-out my soul. It scares me like nothing else that her life is so fragile and anything can happen. Now when I read stories of children who are sick, I cry my eyes out. I can’t handle it. I can’t handle the thought that the one who carries all my love could ever be in pain or leave me.
But the love brings the highest of highs, too. When she falls asleep with her head on my shoulder, when she makes me laugh with her funny noises, when she runs through the house naked and laughing…. those are the moments that make life so rich. That’s when my heart wants to burst, it’s so full. I knew that marriage would be about intense devotion. I didn’t expect that being a mother would give me such a passionate love affair with my child. It blows me away.
I’ll be the first to admit that although I had my crying session 12 hours after she was born, it took me awhile to grow into loving her like this. The first four months when she never slept and I never slept and I had post-partum depression and we both cried all the time? Yeah, I didn’t always like her so much. Now I love her AND I like her, thank goodness!
The thing is, all those cliches about loving your kids? They’re just plain true. Now my fear is that somehow she will grow-up not being fully aware of how loved she is. That something will get lost in translation somehow. That she’ll actually continue to separate and be her own person and know nothing of how many times I’ve kissed her and held her and cried over her. I know that’s just the way it works, I feel very loved by my mom, but I can’t remember all the hours she spent rocking and cuddling me when I was a baby. But I know the love and affection we receive as children grows us to be more whole people, filling-in some of the cracks in our hearts that are broken by a sinful world. My greatest prayer is that Evelyne will know and feel our love for her and that it will be a realistic picture of God’s love for her… and that it will help guide her into His arms.
See also Rocking Thoughts