This morning as I gazed down into his cot Felix opened his eyes and smiled. A real smile, not a copy cat smile. My heart swelled with a love so deep it was fathomless, a love that could eclipse the sun.
In the last few days I have noticed a profound psychological change materialising, a process that began with Felix's birth and has slowly and inexorably been gathering pace in the eight weeks since. The self centered only child is being written over with something different, something better. I am finding a patience and selflessness that I never thought I could posses. An urge to care for and nurture my baby and my family that overcomes the tiredness I feel, that gives me new strength when I am all wrung out.
A new me is emerging from the chrysalis of the selfish child. A deeply caring, nurturing, patient and loving person whose primary concern is the welfare of her three boys (cat included) In other words, a mother. Until now I have at times been going through the motions, indulging in resentment at the sabotaging of my sleep, at the trauma to my body, at the constant tidying and sterilizing and feeding. Grimacing at the crying, the face turned away from the bottle, the arms that rail and nails that scratch at my chest. The hard labour of true motherhood.
During my pregnancy I worried that I was incapable of sacrificing myself for someone else. I feared having a tiny dependant that constantly needed me, a helpless being whose entire welfare was my responsibility. I was terrified of it, fearing that I simply did not posses the right qualities and the emotional resources to care for an infant. Yet this morning, as I gazed into his deep blue eyes with their whites so pure that they appear almost blue, like the snow at the poles, I realised that the qualities I sought were already in place. All I needed to do was let go of the little blonde green eyed girl who made her mother walk the long way home. Who demanded a chocolate éclair after school every single day, the best ones from the bakery. Who would sit and refuse to eat a plate of food for hours on end. Who insisted on riding her scooter for miles until her weary legs could push her no further and had to be carried home in her mother’s arms, scooter and all. I had to let go of that little girl who was me, for now it was Felix's turn to be the child. The centre of the universe had shifted and a new equilibrium had to be found.
To my surprise I welcome it. My metamorphosis, painful as it is at times. I wave goodbye to the little girl knowing that truly I am not bidding her farewell, as she will always live on inside my heart. It turns out my heart has an infinite capacity for love, and space inside for both the child I was and the child to whom I had given birth. As the moon pours its silver light onto the page of my notebook I shed a tear for the closing of my childhood. The end of the era of selfishness, of being number one. And yet I embrace the new era, of being a mother. Of being the carer, the worrier. The shoelace tier. The dribble wiper. The one who kisses it better. I know in my heart of hearts that it is time. I have lived my wild times, my endless lazy days of summer, my halcyon days of happy go lucky frippery. I have fallen in love and in lust, had my heart broken more than once, made and lost friends, lived on different continents and discovered and nurtured passions. I have tried and failed and studied and worked, and now I am ready to invest myself, to pour all this experience into my treasure, my child. It is time to share with him all these joys and passions, to awaken in him the love for nature and the wonders of the universe. To look through his eyes at the world afresh.
Dearest Felix. My sweet fair prince. My fresh green acorn. I am ready to be your mother. I will not hold back. I will surrender myself to caring for you, to nurturing you, to being your number one. For as I look into your deep blue eyes, as you smile at me so sweetly, full of all the innocence and goodness of childhood, I realise that the circle of life is never-ending, a truth both beautiful and bittersweet.