My son often cuddles with me, wraps me in his little-boyness, his warmth, his love. He nestles close, kisses my cheek, my chin, my hand, or shoulder and says "I love you so, so much, mummy" and he sighs. He means the words, and I believe them. No strings attached, nothing wanted but love in return, as much as I'll give him. I tell him he's my heart, my best good thing, and no matter what he does I will love him. I may be angry with him, but I love him. I may be sad, but I love him. I don't have to love what he does or is, but I will always love my son.
I once told him that there's an invisible line of love connecting our hearts, so no matter where I am we are still together. He reminds me of that, sometimes. "I love you, Bird." "I love you, to mommy, and we're always connected from our hearts." And don't you forget it.
He'll grow up faster than I am ready for, move on, find another woman to give his love to, but I will have the first, the clearest, sweetest, simplest of his loves to remember.
He is an aching sweetness, so bright he blinds me sometimes. Terrifying. I would peek at him when his baby self slept and listen to him breathe. I don't know if all mums do this, but I am sure that most do. Listen to the baby breathe, watch them sleep, perhaps touch them ever so gently to be certain they are warm, alive, well. Love that powerful, it can scare you...the fear of loss giving the love a certain piquancy. I was afraid he would die in his sleep, slip away and take my heart, my soul, with him. No reason for that fear, it came with the hormones. So I listened, looked, touched, and was reassured for a moment or two.
He was such a good baby, I thought he was certain to die - it's always the good ones that go, you know? Always the sweet ones. You never hear stories of the baby from Hell passing in their sleep....the baby that screams, won't sleep, spits up all the time, twists its little head around on its neck and chants in Latin...backwards. No, it's always the good ones. When he finally started being an ass, acting like a little boy with a personality and thoughts of his own, I was relieved. When his temper developed, I was happy - for a few minutes, anyway - because I knew that meant he wasn't an "angel baby", but was my very own flesh-and-blood boy. Mine to keep for as long as he'd let me.
I still look in on him, listen to him breathe, place my hand on his head, lean down and smell him, press my cheek to his, hold his little hand for a moment. I need the reassurance that all is well. It's a heavy burden for a five-year-old to bear, but if I sleep well, if I have a good day, it's rooted in him. I don't tell him that, though. Rather, I tell him that when I'm sad (depressed), it's not because of him...never because of him. Sometimes my heart is just sad, but the place where he lives is happy. He is my best good thing.
The shadows are never gone, entirely. They are pushed back against the walls, waiting for a chance to creep out, wrap me up, steal the light, the air, the joy. He's a little, forty-eight pound incandescent super hero, though...because anywhere he goes, the shadows fear to tread.
I wonder what it's like for him, having a mother who endures depression fairly often. I try not to let it touch him, but I won't lie or hide it from him, either. Secrets, secrets, too many secrets in a child's life - they're bad for you, secrets. They churn in your belly when you swallow them, become another twisting sickness. I won't do that to him, but I don't have to make him suffer, either. I wonder what it's like, though. I hope he doesn't feel the weight of it pressing down on him...and I hope that he sees that life can go on, life does go on, anyway.
I've no idea what brought on these thoughts. My little cuddle-bug is wrapped up in his sleeping bag, arms around Ninus (when he went to bed he informed me that Ninus would always go to bed with him from now on until he died) (which, please Goddess, blessed mother of all, giver of life, spinner of threads, let that be long, long from now when I am already beyond the veil), deeply asleep. It's tempting to lift him up, Ninus the Triceratops and all, and bring him to the big horrible chair to rock for a while - and maybe just go to sleep that way, like he did when he was smaller, limp and sweet and warm against me, face pressed into my neck, sighing with his dreams. Probably won't, though - he's heavy enough now that I'll lose all the feeling in my limbs before long, and neither of us will sleep well.
I'll settle for his sweetness in the morning, nestled in the big bed and talking about our dreams, dinosaurs, and anything else he thinks of while the three cats nestle against us and purr.
Sigh...my best good thing...
Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!
"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One
For old quotes, look here.
For old quotes, look here.