an interesting thing happened to me on the way to old age…
my little sister had a baby.
they talk about how you can’t understand unconditional love until you have kids.
they tell you about the overwhelming feeling of helplessness when babies cry or fuss.
they warn you that you don’t understand how protective you will be.
what they don’t tell you?
this feeling exists (to a lesser degree i’m sure) in the family AROUND the new baby as much as it happens to the parents.
my sister told me she was having my niece. my sister told me her name. my sister told me my niece was born. all of this left me relatively unfazed (with the interesting exception of making my own need to have children diminish significantly) until i actually held her in my arms (or lap) and watched her sleep.
the simplest and least complete thing to say here would be that i could not tear my eyes away from her and nothing (but her need for one of her parents) could pry her from my arms. i could have sat there until my arms went to sleep if it meant that she could sleep a little longer.
in fact one night i stayed up over an hour later than i meant to because she was asleep on me and BOTH her parents were getting a little much needed rest. this is the time i perfected my “move sleeping baby” technique which is, by the way, even harder than moving a sleeping cat. it’s amazing what having both your arms go to sleep will do for your willingness to risk moving said sleeping infant.
but none of this conveys the feelings. i’m not entirely certain that words can actually.
i sat there and watched her sleep or sorta fuss around on my lap and was amazed at the waves of sheer emotion that poured through me to her. i know that the word humans describe this feeling with is love but that word feels trite and overused. it feels… it feels somehow less than the emotion it describes.
people love their cars and their pens and the colour of the sky and the way their hair looks. how can a word that sums up my feelings toward chocolate bonbons in any way explain the overwhelmingness of looking at a being for whom i would cheerfully step in front of a bus?
how can that word mean those two things?
what can you say to represent how smitten you are the second you gaze at someone like your new child or niece or grandchild or whatever? i have the funniest swirl in my gut as i look for words to describe the feeling that is best felt by my abdomen and not my words.
how can love be enough of a word?
i guess there just isn’t one.
thank you lia and jeff for making an ada and bringing her into our world. i will do my best to protect her without sheltering her.