February 14, 2006

Mommy Love

My children are incredible. I say so in my sidebar. I wink though because I know everyone thinks their children are the ultimate. They would be wrong. That would be MY children. I am truly blessed when it comes to children.

My sister said often when I would compliment her on the newest pictures of my niece or nephew, that she didn’t know how she got such beautiful children, same thing when I would congratulate her on some accomplishment of her. Typical woman socialized to reply to compliments by some sort of reassure me thing. This irritated me. Surely, I didn’t need to say something here. I think though she meant, what mommies often mean when they half-proudly/half-embarrassedly fuss over their children, that nothing compares to something so awesome coming from your body.

It seemed perfectly expected that I would have exceptional children. I knew from the time of conception that these babies truly were special. I didn't expect the total awe-inspiringness of them.

I could enumerate their virtues from now until the cows come home and then keep on going. How do I love thee…let me count the ways.

I don’t love them for these virtues. I don’t love them for any single aspect of their personality or groups of those. I certainly more than appreciate these things. Instead, I love them for that entire imperfect, perfect whole that is each of my children. I love them for exactly who they are and who they want to be. I want to know them. I want them to know me.

I suppose, I could ramble about those things on this Valentine’s Day. In thinking of a valentine for my babies, I considered doing just that. The thing I want to say is not only do I love them with intensity, deeply, achingly, forever and for always, anything, anywhere, and all those other love songs, which sing to me of mommy love, I love them at every MOMENT.

Maybe that takes some explanation….you see, I once believed I knew about loving kids. I grew up loving babies and toddlers. I was the girl who though she hated dolls, loved babysitting. I cared for and loved other people’s children through college and beyond. I still love holding babies. I find them irresistible. I love watching, playing, being with and cuddling toddlers. Fifteen years ago, I would have told you that 8 month olds were my favorite age.

I know different now. Now, I know the strange mix of loving every moment as it comes and missing the ones that have gone. I can’t really point to an age and say I am glad they aren’t that age anymore. I can’t point and say I wish they wouldn’t be this age or that age or stage or whatever. Every age is my favorite age.

I believed people when they would tell me, as I recited the litany of sick baby/giant toddler mess/no sleep/sore breasts/12,000-months pregnant woes that mommies always communicate, that I should treasure it because I would miss it. I believed them at the same time I wanted to say “Calgon, take me away.” I knew I would.

I wish more people had said, “Treasure these moments because they are fleeting, but know that every day, every year, will bring new moments that you will want to hang onto forever.” In any case, I doubt I will ever cease feeling the awe and wonder that these children are mine to love, mine to know.

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