“As a mother loves her child one should cherish all living beings. Radiating loving-kindness over the entire world – upwards to the sky, down to the depths, all around – one’s heart grows great, wide, deep, boundless, free from hatred, and ill-will.”
–Buddha in My Pocket
Last night, I went for a walk with my mother-in-law along the paved path behind their house. And even though we noticed a storm rolling in, as we pushed Dylan in the stroller, we managed to have enough time to chat about how things are going for Josh and me as new parents. I talked about how it’s both tough and wonderful and exhausting and beautiful, etc. All the usual comments new parents make. But I also said the craziest thing, for me, is what it feels like, emotionally, to be a mother. People like to reference “a mother’s love” when describing something unconditional. Or, they’ll tell you that you’re going to fall in love with your child the minute you hold them in your arms. While those are both probably accurate statements, neither of them truly grasp the essence of it…because I’m thinking it may be indescribable. There are no words. Just images and a deep well of emotion.
When I think about how much I love Dylan, I can feel my chest cave in a little. When I lie next to him on our bed and listen to him coo and babble while he kicks and punches the air, I am in complete awe. When he’s on a really bad crying jag, and I’m trying to comfort him, I have to wipe away tears from my own eyes. Even when I’m changing a horrific diaper, I feel the relief of the clean, dry cloth as if it were my own. It’s like I’ve birthed the equivalent of The Corsican Brothers – you know, the one where they’re twins and they can feel each other’s pain? Except, of course, I don’t presume, nor hope, that Dylan can feel mine.
You see what I mean, though? Even when I try, I can’t explain it. Judy nodded in understanding and said, “You know, no matter what they tell you about what it’s going to be like to be a grandparent, it’s the same thing: you don’t really get it until you are one. And then, boy is it awesome.” I nodded in agreement, though of course, I don’t know what it’s like to be a grandparent. If it’s anywhere near the awesomeness of motherhood, though, I certainly hope to be one some day.