I spent the vast majority of my life childless, and assuming that I was going to stay that way. I was a cousin, a babysitter and an auntie, but I never imagined being a mom. I’ve always liked kids, but I didn’t feel much pressure to have any.
I heard so many parent friends tell me about the intensity of parenthood, marveling about having your heart walking around outside your body. So cheesy! Like “duh, of course you love your kids, what’s the big deal?”
And then I had one of my own, and it scares me sometimes.I watch her change and grow, learning new things. I watch her run ahead of my in the hallway of our apartment building, her elfin little body wriggling and shimmying and bouncing and spinning, and I am consumed. Consumed with amazement and wonder and joy. I can’t believe that she is mine.
I think I could actually kill someone with my bare hands if they tried to harm my child. There is something about how much your child needs you that is intoxicating. Of course, your spouse and friends and family need you, but they don’t need you in the survival/security way that a child needs you. They just love you so hard…like, no strings attached. Just pure, unconditional confidence that you are the whole world.
Of course there are times when that kind of dependence is exhausting. There are times when Nina drives me crazy, and I need a break soooo badly. But the messed up thing is whenever I drop her off to have some time to myself I miss her practically the whole time. It’s like an addiction. I love her so much, sometimes it feels like too much. In a way that I’m not capable of fully expressing in words, or to someone who does not have children. It’s disconcerting to be so attached to one human being.
Occasionally I have the briefest flash of regret about having her. It is so brief it is barely even there, but I have realized to my own horror that I don’t think I could survive without her. Rationally I know that people survive losing children every single day, and I probably would too. But I can’t grasp the thought. I don’t want to. I have birthed my own Achilles heel. I spawned my Kryptonite.