When people found out I was having a boy for my second child, after having a girl first, some would tell me that there was something very special about the way a mother loves her son. They were right. There really is something different about the way I feel about DS. I love both my kids intensely and eternally, but the nature of that love is slightly different in the way it makes me feel.
For example, last night the kids were both asleep by 9 and I was enjoying some quiet time knitting. Just when I was getting ready to head off to bed, I heard this sound like water dripping on the carpet, and out of the corner of my eye, a large shape moved towards me. In a split second, my brain had pieced together the image and I realized it was DS. He had woken up, but instead of crying or fussing, he’d simply crawled off his sleeping mat (he sleeps there when one of us isn’t in the bed) and headed out the door to find me. The expression on his face was peaceful and happy, as if to say “I thought I’d find you out here!”. He crawled over, got up on his knees and held out his arms to me. I picked him up and he gave me a lovely hug, and just lingered there peacefully for some time. My heart absolutely melted away.
It’s true, there is something different about the way I feel about DS. Especially lately as he’s become a little boy, not a baby anymore. It’s really hard to describe, but one way to put it is it’s kind of like having a childhood crush on a boy, when you want to just hug and kiss them b/c you have no sexual awareness. It’s kind of like that. It’s a crush without the sexual part.
You know, it’s strange because as I was writing this I suddenly got a pang of sadness. I have been reminded lately of things that happened when DD was in her second year and we were back east – clothes that she used to wear are now being worn by DS, and seeing them reminds me of her back then. Damn, she could melt my heart too. But these days, she’s just as likely to make me want to throttle her as melt my heart. I guess that’s the reality of being three. But it makes me sad. It’s like my pure love for her has been tainted, or corrupted somehow. Back in those early years, she was pure innocence and could do nothing wrong. Of course, she is still innocent now, but there is something about the way a child becomes an adult, that stage where they can relate to you more on your level, and thus they can trigger you, too.
Like just the other day, DD bit me on the back while I was nursing DS. She’s been playing at biting lately, because DS is doing it. But she doesn’t know the limits. She bit DS’s hand badly in the car the other day, and then she bit my back so hard I screeched. I wanted to hit her or push her or do something. I felt I’d been attacked deliberately, which isn’t the case with DS because he’s so obviously little. I don’t know what it is about age 3 but psychologically I just had a hard time reminding myself that she is just as innocent. We give them too much credit, just so we can hold them responsible and then bear their punishment. It’s not right, of course. It makes me wonder what it is about us psychologically that we see them this way. Perhaps it’s just a cultural thing – our culture is pretty messed up in the way we view children. Maybe in other cultures they recognize the innocence and limited abilities of children better.
Anyways, the point of this post was to talk about the love I feel for my son, and how precious it is. Somehow, it also made me miss that little toddler that was my own daughter not long ago. Once again, I feel as though my parenting experience is a cycle of welcoming the new person, and grieving for the death of the old one. That little 2 year old who melted my heart so is gone now. I will never see her again, never hold her chubby little hands. I’ll never feel quite the way I felt back then. But of course, I have a wonderful little preschooler now, who is still capable of melting my heart in different ways.
Like when she sees me waiting for her at preschool when they come in from the playground. The huge smile, the “mama!!” squeals. Yeah, there’s still a lot of heart melting left to experience.