Love and other sappy stuff

Posted: August 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

So my first three blogs have been a little fresh, hopefully
witty, and somewhat irreverent.  It is my plan to continue in this vein, however on today, the day my son begins his final year of high school I feel compelled to share an essay I have written for a competition entitled, ‘When did you first understand the meaning of love?” I hope
you will forgive me the bold face sentimentality and enjoy it.

The answer to the question of when I first understood the meaning of love changed drastically and often during much of my life.  If you asked me that question at six, I may have described a time when I was sick and I laid on my mother’s bed while she stroked my forehead and gently tucked my hair behind my ear.   When I was ten I most likely would have referred to the arrival of a new kitten.  Sadly at thirteen I think the answer most likely involved a particularly fabulous pair of suede cowboy boots.  My reply at fifteen would most certainly be all about my fantastic incredible boyfriend who I would love forever and ever.  In my twenties when I became engaged to the man I thought I would be with until death do us part, I was sure that I finally understood.  Despite my utter conviction at each of these moments that I had discovered the true depth and meaning of love, full comprehension would not take place until July 9th,1994.

On this day my son, Aidan Jamieson McCarthy was born.  At just about 11 pounds, he was too big for me to deliver naturally and
so he made his arrival via c-section or the escape hatch as I call it.  In preparation I was strapped down to the table, arms outstretched in what can only be described as a position resembling Christ on the cross.  This imagery was not lost on me as I gave over my body in order to give birth to my son.  The recognition of my depth of love began at this moment when I realized I did not for a moment care what happened to me aslong as this creature whom I had not even met arrived safely

When they finally put him in my arms a wave of fear passed through my body. With sudden and complete clarity I recognized that I could now be hurt more deeply than ever before in my life. Prior to this moment, the idea of something terrible happening to my parents, my siblings or my partner was the worst pain I could imagine enduring.  I knew the instant I looked into Aidan’s face, inhaled his scent, felt his skin on mine, that any tragedy that could befall me thusfar paled in comparison to the devastation should anything happen to him.

Great love, pure love, carries with it the capacity for great pain, there is no getting around it, it is the balance and order the universe demands.  In that perfect, awe inspiring and terrifying moment, not only did I have an understanding of my own capacity for love, but for the first time I truly understood the extent of my parents love for me.  I believe in my heart that if I could have known before I was pregnant what I would feel in that holiest of moments, I would never have had a child.  I simply would not have been brave enough, could not have believed I was up to the task.

I have learned over the 17 years that have followed, that I am more courageous than I ever could have imagined.  The blessings my two beautiful children bring me and the lessons they teach me continue to humble me on a daily basis.  The gratitude and respect I now have for my own mother’s bravery and sacrifice grows with each new parenting hurdle I clear.  These daily gifts result in a deep in my soul understanding that I am part of something bigger than myself.  This to me is the true meaning of love.

  1. Megan Bowes says:

    Hmmmm. I think it’s time for another blog post… Maybe something about Aidan’s new adventure — and how excited he is about it. 🙂

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