April 17, 2012
Sweetest Noah Boy,
You smiled up at me today from your car seat, perched in the back of a shopping cart at Target, and I couldn’t breathe for a moment. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t move. This happens to me sometimes, when your eyes fill with that utter adoration and contentment, that expression of complete devotion and total trust—like I am the most perfect being on the planet, like there is nowhere you would rather be than shopping at Target with your Mama.
Something in my soul stirs when you look at me like that. I can’t breathe because I know that I am so undeserving of such pure and guileless love. I can’t move because I already feel the moment flying away, and I long to grab it—to clutch it tightly in my fist and press it deeply into my pounding heart. I look at your innocent little face, beaming up at me with two tiny teeth poking through the gums, and I know that I will do anything—anything—to protect you and your heartbreaking sweetness.
I never knew love like this until I became your mother.
I love your pensive expressions, your chubby hands reaching for my finger, and your frantic splashing in the bathtub. I love your wild blonde hair, your delicious thighs, and your fascination with the blow dryer as it hums in my hands. I love the way you hide your face in the couch cushions when we are playing and the way you pant with such exertion when you are reaching for a favorite toy or trying out a new skill.
I love seeing you with your dad and knowing, in that most tender and sacred place in my heart, that despite all my shortcomings, you are both mine--and you both love me so completely.
I love your dinosaur noises during church and your spontaneous chuckle of approval when you are lounging in your car seat “throne.” I love your little feet, kicking constantly while you are in your high chair or in your stroller taking an evening walk with Mom and Dad. I love resting my head on your soft hair as you drink your bottle in my arms, feeling your weight and your warmth against my chest, knowing that you are real.
I love that my heart now lives outside of my body, and that I get to watch it growing and grinning and learning. It feels miraculous and vulnerable, exhilarating yet imprudent--to let my heart learn to walk, inching its way along the furniture, falling occasionally and sprawling across the carpet, bewildered.
Soon, you will be running. The baby with the adoring blue eyes will run, and I will let you—my heart growing bigger and stronger with each of your strides.
It was there inside of me all along—instinctive and unconditional—and yet I didn’t know it until I held you for the first time. Staring into those deep blue eyes, those eyes that were just seeing the world for the first time, I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t move. I felt the stirring of something emerging, something swelling and coming alive within my heart—
A mother’s love.