Monday, May 30, 2011
Mom Love Poem
How much I love you
I love you deeper than all the oceans combined
I love you farther than the sunset
I love you past the clouds and back
Finding words to describe my love for my children is not easy. It is a love I never knew before and nothing I read or heard gave me even a sliver of a sense. Each time I was handed one of my children, either after giving birth or in a transition house in Addis Ababa, I was overwhelmed with the same emotion that took my breath away.
As my children grew, now 14, 10 and 3, my love for them evolved. Having my children spaced apart in different stages provides a unique vantage point. I remember my 10 year old as a 3 year old when my 3 year old passes a new milestone. I remember my 14 year old as a 10 year as my 10 year anticipates the end of grade school. What a difference a few years made -- nearly a foot taller, feet almost as big as his father’s and a voice that deepens by the day. My teenager scolds me, “Stop using my sister (or brother) for life lessons.” This usually occurs after I told him something like, “When you pout, you looks just like your sister throwing a tantrum . . . just bigger and more ridiculous.”
When they were infants, I loved their sweet, innocent angelic versions. They were completely dependent on Michael and I for survival. I found this terrifying. . . each and every time. My love was mixed with much worry .. . are they eating and sleeping enough, too much, are they developing normally . . .
As my kids became toddlers, they developed the gift of language (which they all have in spades) and began exhibiting their independence. This push to become their individual selves, I found both exhausting and exhilarating. I also gained a glimpse of the adults they will one day become.
With both my biological boys through the years, I had the sense they were “mine.” I knew intellectually they were their own people but my heart felt them as extensions of my husband and me. When we brought our daughter home from Ethiopia, I was forced to rethink this comfortable assumption. Here I had another child who was bound to my heart. Yet, I knew her biological mother was a very important piece of who she is and will become. Could she still be mine then . . . I pondered?
After considerable soul searching, I realized I was thinking about it wrong. None of my children are “mine”. . . although the connection is so visceral and deep it is hard to get enough distance to see this with any clarity. They are mine to love, to raise, to guide, to teach and to nurture. But ultimately after I give them what they need, I must let them go to make it in the world on their own.
My heart breaks just a little each time they push me away and pull a bit more for themselves. My 3 year old’s version is, “I do it myself, Mama.” My 10 year old’s is, “I don’t need a ride. I will take my scooter.” My 14 year old’s is, “I am going to hang out with my friend’s. Sorry I can’t go with you.” I know it is good and right but it still gives me a little pang.
The poem above was written by my 10 year old to me for Mother’s Day. Yes, I teared up as I read it. He has a gift with the written word as I shared before. As he described his love for me, he also described my love for him (and his brother and sister) perfectly in a way I never could. He also gave me the gift of knowing that the depth of love runs both directions. My three awesome, goofy children are pictured below enjoying each others company . .my heart is full.