You have no idea

Dear children everywhere, including my own,

You have absolutely no idea how intensely and overwhelmingly you are loved.  You truly cannot grasp what your lives mean to ours. I know that you love us, but it isn’t the same. I know that you love each other, and you love your friends, and I know how powerful those feelings are.  But you have no idea….

The moment when I became aware of your presence, many weeks before you drew your first breath, I experienced pure terror at the thought of losing you. And every day since, as I have watched you sleeping, breathing, growing up and growing away, that terror has lurked inside me.   I have learned to keep it at bay, and to bury it deep.  If I hadn’t, you would never have ridden a bike, strapped on a pair of skates, gone on a hike or learned to drive a car.

Like every mother everywhere, I have stayed awake all night knowing that you were at your first sleep over.  I have fought down fears of strangers, of illness, of falls off of playground structures.  Every time that you got into a van with someone other than me, I held my breath until you safely returned.    Like every mother, and every father, since the dawn of time, my most horrifying nightmares involved danger to you. They still do!

So now that you are grown, please have patience with me when I insist that you call me after your long drive to your next destination.  Please indulge me when I ask you if you have enough asthma medicine, a good flashlight, a working cell phone.  Please forgive me for my panicked calls to the police when you are late in arriving on a snowy night.   I can’t help it.  I have seen two other mothers bury their children in the past six months. I know that both of them had faced the very same fears that I carry, but for them those fears have come true.

So please understand. I am not trying to smother you, hold you back or tie you to my apron strings.  Its just that I love you.  How much do I love you, you ask?  Oh, honey, you have no idea.

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