Sunday, May 13, 2012

Through a Fire

Once I said to J, my daughter, that I would walk through a fire for her. She just gave me a little smirk and said, "No, you wouldn't mommy." It was like she was saying, "I know you love me but ... come on!"

I don't know. What I feel for her is pretty overwhelming. It's the most intense emotion I have ever experienced  - surpassing love of other family members, surpassing romantic passion, surpassing what I feel for R as my life long partner. 

I described it to a young friend as feeling like this: "Imagine the most intense love you have ever experienced ... multiply that by a hundred." Her eyes widened in surprise. But it was a surprise to me too. You don't understand it until you are in the middle of it. Until you see that kid crying or saddened by life's vicissitudes. Until she is in jeopardy or hurt. Then you understand what she means to you. How life defining your role is.

Sitting by myself reading during lunch one day, I was thinking how powerful it felt, and frightening, to have that much emotion about one person. Is it healthy? Is it right? Is it even avoidable?

Hence, my occasional anxiety when she is subject to the normal but sometimes threatening realities of teenage life. Boys. Drugs. Strangers. Malicious gossip. Mean girls. Academic challenges. Broken hearts.

She picks up on that anxiety too and it doesn't make her happy. Once she sourly observed, "Mama always flips out when I have to go somewhere by myself." Perhaps that's too strong a verb for it. The anxiety certainly escalates. I do have a bit of a catastrophic imagination. Great for fiction writing, perhaps not so great for parenting.

And I'm not saying that she does not drive me absolutely wild some days or that I don't literally feel my hair graying and skin withering as we deal with day to day issues. I do, believe me. I try to chalk it up to retribution for being the worst teenager ever. 

So today ... on a day when we celebrate mothers I would like to celebrate my kid who adds something so pure and so joyous to my life that I can't imagine what it was like before she came into my life, fifteen years ago, all three pounds and three ounces of curly headed love.


Cheryl said...

When she has a child, she will understand - you really WOULD do it.

But you would do it for R as well.
You don't realize it because you are still in mama bear mode, but you would.

That is the way love is.


Christine said...

Here's to celebrating your kid!

Michelle said...

Ahh, my girls, you are both so good to me!