Wednesday, February 07, 2007

mama bear

I thought I loved Gabriel before he was born, and I did. I loved the squirming kicking little being that grew every day, I loved the promise of him, the way he was changing my life. I loved the way Josh admired my belly and spoke to it and the way he took care of us.

When Gabriel was born, I loved him instantly. His tiny hands and feet, his dark hair, the way his nose looked smushed from the birth canal. I loved his sweet cries, the way he would quiet when I spoke to him, the way his little arms and legs would wave quickly if you unwrapped him or didn't hold him tight. My mom asked me once we were home whether I already felt the protective instinct over this new creature, and I did, I thought I would do anything to keep him safe.

Last night, in the wee hours of the morning, Josh accidentally pinched Gabriel as he was fastening his diaper. I had rested my head on the pillows waiting for the diaper changing to finish so that we could continue feeding, but when I heard Gabriel's cries, I shot up to see what was the matter. Gabriel was so upset that it took me a bit of shushing and murmuring to quiet him, but it was over as quickly as it began. What wasn't over, though, was the completely irrational rage that surged as I heard Gabe's crying. Josh would no more intentionally hurt Gabriel than I would, but I was still angry that someone, anyone, had caused him pain.

Josh went back to sleep, and I went back to feeding Gabriel, and as I looked down at him, I realized that this was what my mother had meant. I loved him before, but now I love him desperately. Fiercely. I would do anything to keep him safe, a protectiveness that surprises me. I love him in a way I can't describe.

So this is what motherhood is like, huh? How do you possibly handle it when you can't protect them anymore?

In response to my realization from last night, Gabe gave me a gift this morning. Do you think he knows?


15 comments:

Mrs. S said...

I worry about the same thing. Lckily for us, they're still little and all ours for a good while longer ;)

Also _ WHOA, CUTE!! What a sweet little guy!!

liz said...

Look at that smiley boy!

Ninotchka said...

Que bello!

jo(e) said...

I know that feeling well.

It does change over time. Eventually, he will get older and you won't have to be protective of him because you will have such confidence in his ability to take care of himself. And he will be fiercely protective of you ....

I just love those baby smiles!

Gawdessness said...

What a lovely, lovely, lovely baby!
Personality plus!

How do we manage? I don't know.
Maybe we don't fall apart of freak out because if we did, then we would be there for them.

My four are my joy but there are moments when I almost panic realizing that they will be moving into their own places in the world and how will I cope?

Leigh said...

Yes, yes, yes...this is how motherhood feels. I distinctly remember that primal urge to always protect my girl. It is overwhelming and uncontrollable. It is who we are, deep in our cells.
It can tear you raw in one moment and then heal you in another.
Enjoy the little guy!
XOXO

Jenny Boyd said...

Oh I am feeling sooooo clucky right now! What a gorgeous, precious little person you have there. I have been following your blog for a while now but have never commented before. Keep up the gorgeous photos.
Jenny

chris said...

It never really leaves, that feeling of wanting to protect them from pain and hurt. The first time some other kid is mean to him and you want to march over and tear the kid's face off, well, you'll know.

That smile is beautiful. What a gorgeous baby.

ccw said...

Oh, he is darling and getting so big!

Yes, this is motherhood. Just wait until you start referring to other kids as very bad names because they hurt him.

I can't wait to get to that stage that jo(e) is talking about.

Maribeth said...

Even when they are 30 you still feel that intense protectiveness, but you also learn, over time, to let go some.
What a handsome guy you have there!

Yankee, Transferred said...

OK that baby is adorable! And what jo(e) said...you'll always feel fiercely protective, but you'll relax in the knowledge that he is strong enough to take care of himself at a point.

amygeekgrl said...

awww, love those smiles!

i'm struggling with this myself at the thought of ava possibly attending preschool one morning/week starting this summer. it's hard to let them go (and we're only talking about one morning a week here). ;)

Summer said...

That is such a beautiful post and I worry about the same thing. Those pictures of your little guy is so cute.

Angie said...

He knows! Just you wait for the things you and he will discover in this next year. I can't even begin to describe it. I told you motherhood would be grand!

I love the photo in your previous post and in this post. He is just a doll.

Do you have that overwelming desire to consume him? I bet you. Dip him chocolate before you swallow him whole. :-)

Elizabeth said...

That quick burst of anger you felt when Josh accidentally pinched Gabriel, I know exactly how that feels. I have found myself getting really irrationally angry at my husband for things like that, even though I know there is no way he would ever hurt one of the kids. But that protective instinct flares up and takes over. It is fierce, and deep, a Mother's love.

Love the smile!