Splitting ache that must be motherhood

Miles, 2 weeks old

Miles and me, today, 6 months old
Shauna Niequist, speaking of her son:

“I felt one of the first splitting aches that must be motherhood. I felt in that moment that nothing could hurt my son, that I am superhuman in my love for him, that if he needed me, I would fly or bend steel or wrinkle time with the force of my love. And in the same moment, I know that all mothers feel that way, and that all mothers also feel the exact inverse, the terrifying awareness that people run red lights, and that we won’t be there to stand in front of our son’s cars, shielding them from danger with our superhuman selves.
I felt powerful and powerless at the same instant, full of rabid, crushing love, and also small and out of control and scared for all the life my son will have to live without my protection. Parenting for me feels like a love so big I can’t manage it, a force so visceral I can’t contain it.
I know that when Henry is born, I will change his diapers and feed him and keep him clean and warm. Those are the physical things I can do for him. But what I want to do for him takes my breath away. I want to twist and remake the world around his little self, to shine it up and rearrange it and make it great and special for him. I want to walk ahead of him, making sure things are safe, and walk behind him, keeping an eye on him. I want every day of his life to be happy, and I feel like I could move the sun with the intensity I feel. I knew that a baby would be vulnerable and would need my protection, physically and otherwise. But what I know now as I watch my mother is that it doesn’t matter how big a son gets, a mother always feels, however illogically, that she should have been there to save him from whatever it was that hurt him.”

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