The Love Affair of Motherhood
Having a child is the most intense love affair a woman can experience. It will give your heart the highest highs and the lowest lows. One day, we are at the peak, feeling that strong connection to our child, be they toddlers asleep in our lap in their soft pajamas, or a teenager sharing their day with an open, daring-to-be-vulnerable heart. Another day the moments will be very different….sarcastic comments from the same teenager that cut sharper than a blade through cardiac tissue.
As mothers, we love our children with a love that defies reason. We will give up sleep, adjust careers, stay in less-than-satisfying relationships…the list is long of how different women have tried to make the motherhood love affair work. And still, in the back of our minds is always the lingering knowledge that it is a finite, one-sided, temporary state of unity. Children grow up and become adults, the way nature intended. A cruel, twisted ending, in my opinion!
At times I am at peace with my children as young adults, chasing their dreams and conquering life’s obstacles with determination and grace. Other times I would gladly give up years of my life, a limb off my body, or the breath in my lungs if I could only have them back as toddlers for a day. Heavy in my arms, the scent of their hair in my nose and little hands gripping my shirt. The scent of a sleeping baby in your lap is both intoxicating and blissful.
As a woman whose door has closed on the possibility of more children, I still have pangs of longing. Like a phantom limb that still feels the sensation of limbs no longer there, I feel the echo of the emptiness left behind many years ago when my youngest child decamped from my lap and took the first steps toward adulthood.
The feelings remain, nature’s sense of humor perhaps, that I still have the impulse to pick up and cuddle my now-grown man-son and hold my beautiful woman-daughter in my lap. Our children are way ahead of us, more comfortable embracing the separation process. If they have received enough love, affection, and mothering to fill their hearts, they joyfully leap out into the wild, forever branded by the deep connection in the beginning of their lives. And I soldier on, grateful to have the memories. Occasionally, I just can’t help myself. During a rare overnight visit, I snuggle my sleeping young adult child, close enough to catch the scent of their hair.