Monday, September 14, 2009

A Mother's Love

Can anyone offer a fiercer love than the love a mother has for her children? You know, sometimes I'm amazed that I'm someone's mother -- times 3! And I'm madly in love with each one of them.

We tend to think of the expression "mother's love" in broad terms, or at least I always did (before becoming one). Mother's love can turn a troubled child around. Mother's love is strong enough to protect her little ones from harm's way, whatever the cost. Mother's love can heal all wounds. Mother's love is unsurpassed by all others.

Personally, I've come to realize that "mother's love" is most potent in little, everyday ways.

The way my son's hand barely grasps the sides of the dentist's chair as he's about to get his tooth pulled. I know he's a little anxious, no matter how calm he seems. That little movement, imperceptible to anyone else but me, conveys the bravery he doesn't necessarily feel, but is trying to muster. As I sit in the dentist's office witnessing this, I tear up. It's all I can do not to walk over and scoop him up in my arms. But he's almost 8, and, as hard as it is for me to curb my maternal instincts, I settle for a little hug after it's over. That catch in your throat when you instinctively feel your child's anxiety -- that's a mother's love.

Or the way my daughter spoke to all of her friends on the soccer field the other day. The other mothers merely assumed she was a friendly little girl. Only I knew the struggle the last year has been for her -- being moved back from Kindergarten to a JK program, having to make a whole new set of friends (who weren't always that nice), her confidence dashed by a series of circumstances that were just too much for her little 5-year old self. And here she was, after all the worry and despair and disappointments, with this sudden confidence. I caught a glimpse of the little girl I hadn't seen in a whole year. The relief, the pride and amazement and peace I felt...that's a mother's love.

This morning my 3-year old was trying to learn the names of Snap, Crackle and Pop. He was sitting, all alone, at the breakfast table, his brother and sister having long ago finished and departed to get dressed. He practiced them, over and over, to himself. I heard him whispering their names as he pointed at each one on the box. He was so serious and determined to learn something new. When he got them right, he gave me this little shy, sly smile. It's ridiculous, but the little gush of love I got after observing the intense determination to learn something new...well, you know.

Sometimes, the little things are really not that little after all. Maybe that applies to people, too.

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