I Love My Kids More Than You Love Yours

A few years back, when I was pregnant with my first child, some of my friends and I were gathered around my living room, chit-chatting it up.  I don’t remember the details of most of our conversation, but I will never forget one particular sentence.  A good friend of mine, who at the time was the new mom of an seven-month-old, said, “I think I love my daughter more than anyone has ever loved their child”.  I laughed and looked around at the other people in the room to make the “oh-my-goodness-isn’t-that-so-dramatic-and-hilarious” eyeball connection, and when my eyes circled back to my friend’s face, I was startled by her expression. She was smiling, but she wasn’t laughing.  She was serious. She thought she loved her kid more than anyone had ever loved theirs, ever before.

i love my kid 2

I have known this friend for almost twenty years, she is strong, she is smart, she is not one to make flaky, flippant remarks, so I was caught off guard by her statement.  I finished my now slightly uncomfortable giggle and looked down at my swollen belly. Having struggled with infertility, I did not take my pregnancy for granted; I wanted that child I was carrying so badly.  I already loved her.  But more than anyone else, ever?  That seemed a little absurd and presumptuous and slightly creeperish and definitely impossible to measure.

Of course, I hadn’t yet began the process of mothering a child, outside the womb, when I thought she was joking about her champion loving ability.  Now that I am right in the thick of that mothering process, with two girls of my own, I understand.  I totally get it.

I get that feeling of tiger-like fierceness when I think of my child getting hurt.  I get that gripping fear that something will happen, something unthinkable, and I have to force those thoughts away, because just dwelling on the mere concept that bad things could hypothetically occur can bring me to my knees.

I get that melty feeling of softness when I stroke my kid’s hair, or kiss the back of her head, or touch her shoulder when she’s standing next to me, gripping my thigh with her palms.  I get a feeling of absolute tranquility and peace when we do things as ordinary as sit together on a park bench, smiling at each other and sharing a snack, as the sun beams down on our heads.  I never thought that clumsy, awkward me would be capable of acts so tender, yet I have come to find that when I am with my children, it is second nature, and I am transformed from a bumbling oaf into a graceful nurturer, and this newfound gentle me, this me I didn’t even know existed before, is one of my favorite mes.

I get that feeling inside when my kid achieves a new feat, that bubble of pride inside of me that expands as it rises and makes my chest puff out as I think, she’s growing up so fast! coupled with the backhanded feeling of sadness, she’s growing up too fast.  I never realized it was possible to simultaneously feel so happy and so sad about the exact same event.  It’s terrifying, really, how something as simple as switching your child from a crib to a toddler bed can evoke so much emotion.

I get that the cuddles and hugs and the ability to peer in on my children’s faces as they sleep are all luxuries, even if they do not always seem to come cheap.  Yes, I pay for these gifts with a stretched out body, and wrinkled eyes, and excursions out in public with unbrushed hair and spit up on my jeans.  Yes, I pay the price with a right hip and right shoulder and right ribs that constantly get shifted out of place, that I then literally pay the price to get fixed by my osteopath on a regular basis.  I realize, though, that I am truly getting a bargain, even with these seemingly hefty tolls.

I get that eventually I will get a lot more sleep and a lot less affection.  I know that their requests for hugs and kisses, their demands to be held, their need to hide behind my legs when feeling shy, or upset, will not last long.  I understand that the occasional wiggle to shake my hand off of their backs, or the “no, Mama, don’t touch me” remarks will continue to increase and eventually I will no longer have the excuse, or the right, to touch my children as much as I want to.  They will, some day soon, no longer be physically connected to me all of the time, and while of course I want them to grow and mature, it also makes me sad because there is nothing on this planet that feels better than being in contact with them.  Just like they love to hold their blankies to their chests, or snuggle them in their arms, I love the feeling of my children draping themselves over me.  I even like it when they touch me with their toes, a dirty, stinky, little message of I love you, I need you, pressing against me.  My girls needing me may have made me seek out a chiropractor, or a glass of wine, or, at times, even a vacation, but more than anything else their neediness has made me need them right back.

Their constant physical presence require that I be my best self.  Amidst the chaos and the crumbs and the dodging of the plastic objects on the floor, they have forced me to work on finding happiness, and finding peace and finding balance.  I didn’t really need to work on those areas of myself until I became a parent and wanted to ensure I was the best role model and the best mama I could be.  And while it isn’t always easy, they make me laugh, even when I don’t feel like laughing, and they make me appreciate the beauty in ordinary life, that I very likely would otherwise ignore.  Plus, they make me clean all the dirty crevices in my house on a regular basis.  They make me happier than I ever thought was possible, and I have been made into a better person just by being near them.  Will I be able to keep this up, without their push?  Each new feat they perform is a sharp, jabbing reminder that pretty soon they won’t need me anymore, even if I still need them.

I think back to my friend’s comment about how much she loved her daughter and just like then, I still find her sentiment to be a tad bit silly – except now I think so for a very different reason. I now know it was silly because I’m the one who loves my kids the most.  Out of anyone, ever.  I am sure of it.  Her idea that I had once thought to be sweet, but slightly irrational, I now not only subscribe to, but believe to have beaten the record.  I don’t care how impossible it is to measure, I am certain that I love the most. She surely will protest this, but I don’t feel badly about battling her for the title, because there really can be no losers in a competition to out-love someone, can there?  Everybody participating wins.

i am a better person because of my children

i am a better person because of my children

 

 

SHARING IS CARING!Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

41 thoughts on “I Love My Kids More Than You Love Yours

  1. I also totally get it. Even though my girls are grown, I still think I love them more than any other mother has ever loved her kids. It does hurt a wee bit, though, that I can’t constantly hug them like I did when they were toddlers. They do grow up, as they should. Beautiful post!

  2. So true!
    I would totally have laughed out loud if my friend made that comment. I remember telling my husband at one point – “Isn’t he just the most beautiful boy ever – totally objectively of course…” And then we started to laugh! Because there’s no way a parent can ever be objective when it comes to their own child.. Because we just love them so so much it hurts!

      • Haha! Yes! When he was born, I was all like: look at this beautiful creature, I’ve never seen anything as beautiful! And now looking back at those pictures I am very much like: Uh, babies really aren’t THAT beautiful… It’s so funny how blind you can become!
        But I suppose they just heighten your emotions – instead of being happy, you’re euphoric, instead of being sad, you’re devastated! With children you reach the deepest emotions ever!

  3. Yes… To all of this. And this comes from a person who was never going to have children. What a shock to me it was! This is a special kind of love I had no way of understanding before. I am thankful everyday for the opportunity of being a mom…

  4. The tricky part is believing that, someday, there may be another person who claims to love your child even more than you do. The hope is that it is true – there are different forms and levels of love.

  5. Love is love. It’s all different for all of us.

    I rode the infertility wagon for many years and just decided it was time to move on. I never had a child from my body.

    But I still secretly prayed for one. Just in case.

    So, instead, God gave me a man who had a little 14 year old girl. Who has no mother. She doesn’t know the woman who birthed her. She doesn’t want to know the woman who birthed her.

    In her Mother’s Day card to me this year, she started it with, “To my one and only mom…”

    I told my husband the other day, as much as she gets under my skin with her teenager-y mouth and as much as I wish she’d pick up after herself (remember…she’s 16 now), I love her as much as any child I could have birthed myself.

    And I never thought I’d ever know the feeling of loving a child.

    So, even though I’ve never said the words, “Honey, I think it’s time…”, yeah, I love her as if I did get to say those words with her on the way.

    You did a bang up job on this…I love it. =)

  6. Savor those moments. I have always been like a mother bear when it comes to my kids. Most of the time just thinking of something can bring tears of joy or sadness. Then the grandkids come and you can’t even believe you get to go through all of those emotions again. Just when you are rocking that little boy that smells like a dog and a memory of your own son comes to mind do your realize it. This post made me so thankful and happy.

  7. Pingback: Depression ≠ Sadness | A Morning Grouch

Leave a Reply