Confession: for a really long time, I didn’t feel that crazy love for my kid that people described. Like, people talk about falling in love with their kid the moment they laid eyes on him or they talk about how they have never loved anyone the way they love their kid and I am coming clean right now and admitting that I didn’t feel that for a really, really long time.
I loved my kid. Don’t misunderstand. I loved him a lot and I thought he was wicked cute and awesome. I felt protective of him and proud of him and bonded with him. But I didn’t feel this special love that people talk about. The day he was born was not the best day of my life. Nor were the several months that followed.
Listen, It’s no secret that I struggled both with postpartum depression and the idea that I was trapped–in my marriage, in my home, in this town. And then there was the sleeping –or, rather the lack thereof. Hourly waking for a year straight. The months (probably longer) following The Who’s birth were not only not a picnic, but they were downright unpleasant.
Over time, of course, the days got easier. I got treatment for my PPD and he grew out of the really hard newborn stage. We spent more happy time together and I loved him. I did.
But something has changed recently. The timing is too close to The Great Face Stitches Incident of 2012 to discount it’s role in this development, but over the past few weeks, I have fallen into that Crazytown love with my kid that other people have always been talking about.
It’s not truly bananas. It’s not like I can’t get enough of him or that we don’t still struggle like a mama and her 4-year-old should. It’s just that in the moments following his fall — when I saw the hole in his face and caught his blood in my hands, and knelt next to him on the cold brick — in those few moments, my heart fell out of my own grasp. It’s as if, for all these years, I’d been holding on to it, not giving it entirely. Protecting it. Keeping it, at least most of it, for myself. But then, not knowing if he was going to be ok for those terrifying few moments, something shifted.
I check on him tonight before bed. I remember those last moments before I kissed him goodnight, which were fraught with an overtired lack of patience on both of our parts, but all I can really think about is how much I love him. How incredible he is. How much joy and meaning and life he brings to my life. And I think about all those times I wondered if I had made the right choice to have a child and all the times I was wistful for my kid-free days, missing my sleep and my peace and my time. And I look at him there, [nearly] four years old. Long and strong and smart. Independent and curious. Funny and charming and innocent. And –oh my God. I get it.
It took a lot longer than I had expected or hoped. But, man. I am in love with this kid. Like, for real.