Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Is This Love?
Her daddy has left her napping in the middle of our bed, he has to leave for a meeting and I’ve just returned home so I relish in the thought of climbing up next to her sleeping form.
I mold my body around hers like a mama cat. I breathe in her, I close my eyes and smile at this stolen moment really only shared between me and myself.
She wakes a few minutes later, asking where daddy is. I assure her that he’ll be home in time for dinner and her eyelids flutter back to a half awake state for a few more minutes until she wakes up and turns around to stare at me.
“Hi sweet pea,” I say.
“Hi,” she repeats.
“I missed you,” I say.
“I missed you,” she repeats.
“I love you,” I tell her.
“I love you,” she repeats.
Sometimes I wonder when our children actually “love” us in return. Not to diminish their obvious affections and attachments to us, but do they really “love” in the true understanding of the word? To them, we are the caretakers, the adults in their lives who are always there to feed them, clothe them and keep them warm. We’ve always been there, they don’t know any different. But when do they feel that feeling described as “love”?
I loved all of my kids at the mere thought of them, long before they were born. This feeling grew as they did during pregnancies and became tangible when they were delivered and I could hold them myself. There was never a time I can remember not feeling this way and it occurred to me as Katie and I lay and had our little conversation that it might not be the same for her.
True, I am the person she favors above all others (and her Daddy gets his fair share of this too), but does that mean that she “loves” me, or has just been conditioned to respond to me in the way that I teach her by example. Do children learn “love” or is it a feeling that grows as they develop?
At their age, the boys can describe what “love” is and I believe that they’ve formed ideas in their heads of who is deserving of their affections and who is not. Their family definitely falls into this category; the milkman does not (although my husband teases me that maybe he should). But when did this transition from an automatic response to those unsolicited hugs, kisses and “I love you Mommy” happen? I can’t remember.
We were having brunch last weekend. After dishing out the food and drink for Brett and the kids, I finally sat down between Katie and McRae.
“Mommy, here’s a pancake for you,” she said as she plopped one on my plate.
It may not be a big relevation. It may not be the discovery of another planet or the proof that life extends beyond death, but it was huge in our house, in my heart.
Because you just don’t give pancakes to anyone.
Posted by carrie