Friday, September 12, 2008

Me, thinking about love

The kids, here, are walking out to our little guest cabin. Grammie and Grandpa are asleep in the cabin. In their bags are a thermos of coffee, two mugs, two sippy cups of hot chocolate, four slices of banana bread, and a bunch of space lego. Oh, and I almost forgot. A big wooden spoon for whacking on the guest house door to wake them up.

This is the really luscious part of having houseguests.

Somehow, having an audience increases your awareness of everything around you, of everything you do. Have you noticed this? Having houseguests makes you see your house, your posessions, in a totally different light. Being in public makes you hear your voice in a way that you wouldn't hear yourself if you were talking to your children at home. And sharing your children with others makes you see them, and your relationship to them, in a new and bright way.

I have had my husband's family-- father, mother, and grandmother-- at my house now for nine days. Some of you might cringe at this prospect, and want to dissolve at the mere thought of hosting in-laws for such a period of time. And at one point in my life, I might have, too. But I am lucky now that I have truly acclimated to my husband's family, and we've carved out a groove that we jump right into when they visit, and it works for everyone. I plan meals, mostly cook them, and they always help with clean up and dishes. They pick up after themselves, and after the kids, too. They grab the kids whenever they need someone and they read to them, play with them, enjoy them. We're lucky enough to have a little cabin in the backyard (how quaint!) which is a complete and perfect bedroom, making hosting company easier than it might be without that space. So having them here is really a treat, they help me out, I get some time to do things like go to meetings at the hospital, spend the morning at Liam's school, and work in my damp, shady garden down front.

And then there is this: I watch my children with their grandparents. I see them running, shrieking, blonde hair streaming in the wind as they race around the yard, jump on the bed, giggle hysterically in some grandparents' lap. I see their fixed gazes as they are read to, the concentrated expressions, the dimples above their eyebrows as their matching visages study the books that they are being read. I watch them through new eyes as others interact with them in the way that I normally do, meanwhile, I am enjoying my own pursuits simultaneously. And then, out of the corner of my eye, the blonde streak comes towards me, and tumbles into my lap, and I remember the best part of this all: they are mine.

We all love these children, and we take care of them together, and we love them and read to them and play with them, but when the sun goes down and they are ready for the best cuddle they could ever dream of, it's my arms they want tightly around their little lean bodies, my face they want smashed into theirs, a tangle of hair and breath and juicy lips and love. There was a poem once that my friend Catherine read at another friend's blessing way, it was a poem about the literal, physical love affair between mother and baby, and it is true, so viscerally true, and so real. I get squirmy inside in this totally, unique, indescribable way when I think about how much I love my children. It's not like how I love anyone else, and it's overpowering and physical and deep and from my gut and I just cannot get enough of it.

I think to myself, so very often, of the moment that Charlotte was born and I felt this thing for the first time, this love for my child. It ripped me open and left me raw, but it gave me an appreciation for what my parents had experienced in loving me, and it made me view them so differently. So I sit with my love for my children, half the time trying to figure out how on earth I could convince them to believe how much I actually love them, and the other half of the time just praying that some day they will have children of their own, the only true way for them to know just what it is that I feel in my heart for them each day, each minute, each second of my life.

Here we are at Charlotte's stone. We are one less than five. But we are, I admit, all smiling.


AnnaMarie said...

What a wonderful way for grandparents to wake up!

When I held my newly delivered, tiny, still, deformed son I understood what people meant when they described that instant surge of love you feel for your children. Sometimes I'm feel blessed to have felt this level of love because it truly is unlike anything else. But other times I still very much consider it a cruel aspect of life that a love this intense is felt even for those delivered dead.

Meg said...

Wow. What a beautiful tribute to your kids. I feel the same way, this crazy, fluttering love inside me all the time. And, when people come over or spend time with my kids, it makes me smile inside to know that these sweet, precious kids are MINE! Just like you. I often liken it to when a friend gets a puppy and you go over and play with it and you just wish you could go over there all the time and even wish you could have that puppy. Well, on a much greater scale, that's how it feels with my kids. People enjoy them so much and I'm so happy and filled with love that I get to share the real special time with them. I'm not as well spoken as you, but I totally get what you write and it hits my heart. Thank you for that.

Natalie said...

What was the poem at the blessingway?

Why do you think they are more in your area?

I love your blog!