My nephew was born Feb 2014
I don’t remember holding either of my girls like this, in perfect peace, mind focused solely on the soft wisps of hair ruffled by the tiny askew cap. I don’t remember feeling this effortless love untinged by judgement or anxiety, am I doing this right? This was simple, sublimely pure, the moment of holding the brand new tiny scrap of humanity who was my nephew and knowing that while I might screw up the details of my expression of love for him, he was part of me, part of the most essential core of my life. My love for these four will remain the most important achievement of my life.
As I trace the tiny fingers curled into loose fists, minute nails which cause scratches on his cheeks, I realize how pointless all that worry and guilt was. My preteen girls are exactly who they have always been, even when they were as tiny as he is. All my angst has caused are the lines on my face, and countless episodes of helpless rage. I wish I could protect them from the countless hurts and uncertainties that seem dangerously predictable. But enough years have passed, and I have spoken to enough smart, intelligent, beautiful, powerful, professional women to know that there is no magic talisman that can protect them. And I would not want them to live a banal, risk less life. All I want them to know and learn to expect is love and respect from those around them. To be assured that whatever their choices may be, their sorrows and joy are shared and multiplied unhesitatingly.
The sharp bark of the family pet startles him and his arms stretch out defensively, his face scrunching up instinctive protest. It is so easy to comfort him, bundle him up and hold him close, protect and soothe him. This is perhaps the easiest thing I can do, and I know that soon I will be helpless to cocoon him in my care, he will stand up and walk out of my sight, and I want him to take chances, explore and have adventures. And he will get hurt, he will meet others who will lie and cheat, he will be derided for his choices and demeaned for his failures. And I can’t close my eyes to challenges some children face, heart breaking misfortunes and aching lifelong afflictions. All I have is his perfection right now and my ability to hold him close so he knows that he will always have someone who cares.
And in turn I am thankful that I have precious ones to cherish and love. I am grateful that this one more time I had the support of a wonderful husband and cheerful uncomplaining girls, friends who shared my celebration and resources enough to be able to be there. And at the end of the day, without reservations, this means far more to me than anything material. And this is all I can wish for my children, the chance to love and share.