Last night I had a dream. I had a dream that I lost a son. I don’t have a son, or at least not one that I know of, but I have to admit that I feel like the baby I miscarried so many years ago was a little boy. In fact, I can picture him in my mind, with his dads blue eyes and little tiny ringlets falling around his face. Some days I imagine him driving the tractor with my husband in grass filled pastures. Sometimes, I see little boys playing with cars and hugging their mama’s, and I think back to that dreadful day in the hospital when my insides, literally and emotionally, were somehow ripped from inside of me. I will never know for sure whether that baby was a boy or a girl, but it really doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that love, and fear and motherhood – are often so intricately laced
that being a mom can leave you breathless.
Like the first time you saw your child get hurt. You could feel the pain inside your own body. When my kids get hurt even now, my hands ache from a very deep spot. While I recognize the pain is not my own, I feel the pain nonetheless. Just last year my 6-year-old came home from school with tears in her eyes telling me a story about a little girl that she asked to be her friend. The little girl said no, and that NO broke my daughter’s heart. She didn’t understand it. How could she when she had up until that point, lived in a world that was filled with nothing but the soft vapors of love?
My kids are getting older. My love for them is not as new as it was in those first few years after they were born. But it is much, much deeper. So much so, that my love for them is no longer something that I do, or feel. It is something that I am. While I tell them that I love them often, and they return the words – time has made them unnecessary verbalizations of the feelings of the heart. It is those feelings, the ones that we feel so deeply, that require no words or actions, that are simply expressed through the statics of electricity that pass from person to person. You could put 45 people in front of me (some of them other family members), blind fold me, and ask me to tell you which ones were my children by allowing me to touch only their hands, and I would get it right EVERY/ SINGLE. TIME. Not just because I love them, but because I am the love for them. It is part of me. And part of them. It is what is familiar to me.
And here they are walking away from me. Those younger years when they stayed under my control, when I could watch them constantly and feel their breath as they slept, that always gave me the sense that I had things under control, in no way prepared me for the walking away. With each step they take, a part of my heart – bound by an imaginary heart string, walks with them. There are many sayings that say fear cannot exist where love resides, and although one side of me wants to believe this, my motherhood side smells a rat.
The fears that they might get into a car accident, that they might experience an illness, that they might get hurt, or be sad, or have their heart broken – are all REAL fears. The fear that something might happen to me as their mama before they are ready to be ‘let go,’ is a REAL fear of motherhood.
What amazes me is how exponentially far our maternal heartstrings can stretch. I imagine that they can wrap around continents and cross oceans and even make the slow voyage from life to death should we ever lose our children. I see other moms whose children have journeyed into the military, or into careers that put them in danger - heartstrings still in tact, love still vibrating from their hearts with as much fever as a penny on a train track. And of course, I have witnessed the slow passage from adolescence to adulthood that all children take, that I have taken, in which our children leave our brick and mortar homes that smell like sugar cookies and vibrate with memories to pave lives for themselves. Each step, never disconnecting the love, never extinguishing the fears – no matter how far they go.
The best way, maybe the only way to deal with this cocktail of love and fear and motherhood is to live by the words of Benjamin Franklin, who tells us:
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen.
Keep in the SUNLIGHT!
Yes, keep in the sunlight. Lately, when I find myself drowning in the sort of love that causes fear, I try to stay in the sunlight. Have faith. Pray silently over my children, for my children, for myself. And mostly stay positive and pulsing with gratitude.