Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This helpless love...

I remember being so sad when the soft, downy hair of Caleb's and Tavish's newborn ears was one day gone. I remember running my fingertip along the suddenly smooth and hairless curve of their month-old, pink ears, realizing that motherhood is a series of endings. I wanted to stop time, curl up and never have to wake from the blessed newborn symbiosis of their body, my whole world; my body, theirs. Who ever wants to wake from such a love?

But who would want to stop their child from growing more fully into his glorious self, to stop their child from running more and more deeply into the lush forest of her dreams and destinies? No one, of course. And so I must surrender to the bittersweet paradoxes of motherhood: the wider I open the doors of my heart (wide, to that place I fear the hinges will bust), the closer we grow in love; the looser my grip on them and on life, the more securely we attach to one another; the more grounded and rooted our home, the further they will one day fly from it.

"They will go. They will go," Time whispers to me every day. I know this. I know every effortless beauty, and every exhausting challenge ends. It all ends. Too quickly, it ends. And yet, all I can do is fall helplessly in love with every freckle, every chubby cheek, every dimpled hand, every fragile, turning page of their lives, knowing the whole time that what I love cannot possibly last.

Oh, this helpless love. It can break a girl's heart. But what greater thing are we made for than this, this helpless love?


  1. This is so beautiful. It reminds me a little of an Anne Tyler book I was inexplicably reading in my first postpartum, which described raising a child as experiencing a series of deaths...your one year old dies, then your two year old dies, then your three-year old dies...
    YEAH. It was a real laugh riot.

  2. So true. I've been thinking a lot about endings recently. My oldest son has become very private and it makes me much more appreciative of the unabashed openness of his younger brothers. You don't even get a warning when these things end, they just do, without so much as letting you know that it's the last time or the last day. There have been too many last-times lately in our family. It's exciting to see them grow up, but sad to know that I'll never have those lost moments, ever again.

  3. Beautiful and so, so true. Unfortunately. And yet sometimes when they stay an infant/toddler a little too long because of developmental delays it is a glorious thing to say good-bye to the last phase and hello to the next. But what I wouldn't give to cuddle them as newborns again today.