“But now, having had her, I never say things to people like YOU WILL NEVER EXPERIENCE SUCH LOVE UNLESS YOU HAVE BABIES, because, at least for me, it’s just not true.”
This article from Nicole Cliffe on The Hairpin has been really sticking with me lately. Oz is thirteen months old, and I like him much more than I used to. When he was born, I was in complete awe, but it wasn’t (as much) awe of him specifically. I was in awe of what my partner and I had created. This being, with fingers, was going to turn into a person someday, even though he couldn’t even focus his eyes or lift his head up. I’ve said it multiple times before, but watching Oz grow is like watching flowers bloom. He just gets better and brighter and more open every single day. When I think about how I’ll feel about him when he’s three, nine, twenty-seven, I get so bowled over with WHELM that I have to stop and just hold him. I love this child!
But I don’t love him more than anything ever. Do I have a biological, physical response to him that surprises me? Yes. When he was little, I wanted to put him in my mouth. I’ve had reflexive reactions to him approaching danger that make me aware that I’ll do whatever I can to keep him safe. And he is just amazing. But my love for my partner, deep and abiding, tends to trump my feelings for my child. I have friendships that will always be about ten years older than my child, and they give me that same sense of WHELM on a regular basis as well.
Do I feel like Oz has made a positive difference in my life? On the whole, yes. Enough that I’m considering having more children. Is he the be-all and end-all of my existence? No. I love him, and that love is part of who I am as a person, but it isn’t all of it. And nor, do I think, should it be. The love I feel for my child gets folded in and wrapped around all the other loves in my life, like the olives in a delicious ciabatta.