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Always Love Me

July 26, 2010

We’re inside lolling on the living room floor, seeking respite from summer’s full blast when I tell the kids (who’ve just given birth to their own babies: twin ducks for Rose and a healthy baby bear for Col!) that they will always be my babies. They clamor for my lap and I pretzel them into the small, soft space. “When you grow up and leave home you’ll still be my babies,” I pledge to their upturned faces beaming on me like small flashlights. “Even when you’re my age and you have your own kids, you’ll still be my babies.”

They smile even though they can’t think beyond next Thursday when I promised them they could bring frozen juice to the river. Rose’s current, greatest aspirations are to chew gum and use an electric toothbrush. The past is a blurry story which the kids grasp like a waterfall through their outstretched hands. “Was Daddy your Daddy too?” Col asked me recently.

These kids are so tethered to the present moment, they should teach the next round of mindfulness retreats for upstart Sri Lankan monks. They lean towards optimism and honesty like flowers twisting towards the sun. Yesterday Col told me matter-of-factly “Rosie’s new thing to get what she wants is just to grab you.” Rose corrected him: “I only do that to Col.” And then they scampered off to play.

I am holding them on my lap, gathering up legs and arms when Col throws his head like an anchor at my pillowy stomach and says “just love me Mama. Can you just love me?”

That, my boy, is the easiest thing in the world.

But what I want to ask is “will you always love me? And will I always recognize it?”

When you’re fifteen Col, and reeking of hormones and you’ve outgrown my lap and you slip through the house with a posse of friends speaking a secret language I can’t decode, will I recognize the love in your quick nod my way before you thunder down the stairs?

And Rose, in ten years when you live behind a slammed door and my very breathing annoys you, will I catch the love and trust in your voice when you share with me a personal tidbit from your boarded-up life?


Last week, Dan and I found on our mismatched, respective bedside tables, one raspberry each. Col picked them while riding bikes with our downstairs neighbor Sage. He carried the tiny, fragile fruits home in his pocket, and left them where we’d find them. The raspberries were underripe, sour at first taste, though underneath was a fresh and rewarding sweetness.

Maybe that’s all we can hope for – that underneath the untold storms of parenthood, there lay a fresh and rewarding sweetness.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane permalink
    July 26, 2010 11:04 pm

    That post was just beautiful! I have a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat. You so encapsulated the open heart of a parent.

  2. Ami permalink
    July 27, 2010 12:08 am

    Oh my – how you manage to continually out-do yourself, I’ll never know! :) Or maybe, your life – your children are growing sweeter by the second. The raspberries on the night stands really cinched it for me! Thank you for sharing!

  3. July 27, 2010 12:08 am

    I agree…I am in tears. Marvelous…

  4. July 27, 2010 2:36 am

    Oh, you’re killing me here. It’s clear from your posts what a wonderful mama you are and how much they love you. I too fear what the aging of my little people will do to their affection toward their mama.

  5. Kathy permalink
    July 27, 2010 4:50 am

    Their innocence and child love only grow in the years to come. Yes, there will be the teenage time, but one day they will say again in sweetness and love, “Mom, you were right.” And they will shower the same affection on you, but with wisdom and strength. They will not only be your babies, but your friends. And you can share memories, the baby memories that are vague to them and fresh to you, as well as the ones they will remind you of, forgotten among the millions that escape you in your old age memory.
    Photo albums help!
    Oh, if I could go back in time and pretzel my children…

  6. July 27, 2010 5:32 am

    you write beautifully. always a joy to visit. thanks for these touching sentiments on motherhood.

  7. Jan permalink
    July 27, 2010 6:46 am

    Beautiful, Rachel. And some day, with luck, there will be grandchildren who will love you, too. Grandmotherhood is different but equally wonderful and rewarding.

  8. Peggy permalink
    July 27, 2010 7:32 am

    Wow – it’s not even 9am here and I have mascara running down my face – not sure how I’ll explain this at my 9:30 meeting! What a fantastic post!! My kids have been asking the same sorts of questions – and making similar statements. Just this weekend Charlie assured us that he would be buying a house right down the street from us with his wife (a girl from daycare) and that they would come over all the time to play with us. He told us that he would miss us too much if he was too far away, and besides, he loves us and just wants to be with us (his words, not mine).
    It’s things like this that just make me melt instantaneously. And I feel like this window is so brief. He’s old enough to finally verbalize these sorts of things – but all too soon he will outgrow this and just want to be left alone. (SIGH)
    These truly are the BEST of times!!!!!!
    Thanks for another wonderful post!

  9. July 27, 2010 8:31 am

    So lovely!

  10. July 27, 2010 8:48 am

    I felt the pangs in my heart just reading this. I was just nursing Sullivan a few nights ago in the middle of the night; the only time he will peacefully sleep in my arms now, and kept thinking…how is it that our time together, you nestled to me most of the day, has already come and gone?

    Beautiful how they have a way of keeping us in the moment (which is all that really matters); beautiful how you write about it.

  11. abozza permalink
    July 27, 2010 9:13 am

    And that just did me in for the day. Right now, my babies and I are all over each other, all the time. Our bodies and our space basically belong to each other and it’s hard to know where one of us ends and the others begin. And sometimes, when I just need a little personal space…just a moment without someone on me, I remember that it won’t always be like this, and that someday I’ll have to beg for a hug, and a kiss will be non-existent. And even though I know it is normal, it makes me so sad.

  12. July 27, 2010 1:36 pm

    I love the image of pretzeling my babies into the soft space, and I’m sure I’ll be trying to do it even when they can’t stand to hear me breathe. Oh, to be a mother … so bittersweet and joyous all at the same time!

  13. July 27, 2010 5:05 pm

    we’ve been having the same kind of conversations here…and this mama has been thinking the same kind of thoughts about how fleeting and precious this part of childhood is.

  14. July 27, 2010 5:18 pm

    This is beautiful. My little guy, who is four this Friday – said a couple months ago, that when he is “Grandma’s age” he’ll be ready to go and visit her by his self. “Okay,” I replied – knowing full well that it’ll likely only be a few more years. “Yeah…when I’m 57 – that would be a good age.”

    Litttle does he understand that he could very well have his own grandkids by then. It just makes my heart ache – the time is going by far to fast.

  15. Melissa permalink
    July 27, 2010 6:36 pm

    you just get me every time.

    this morning, avi said (clad only in diaper as we were intertwined on the couch, lilit and leeor asleep downstairs), “i love snuggling you, mommy.” i mean, talk about the sweetness!! and i know what you mean about the future looming–he said this afternoon, “you don’t have a penis, do you, mommy?” as he and leeor were off on a bike ride. it’s only going to go on from there . . .

    col leaving you raspberries is so ridiculously touching.

    i’m all mushy–and appreciative, as always, of your beautiful writing that puts it together so meaningfully.

  16. July 27, 2010 7:54 pm

    My mom used to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to me, and the line, “You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you …” haunted me even then. But now that I have my own little Critter to love, maybe I do know….

    Thank you for this post.

  17. July 27, 2010 8:45 pm

    Yes, so, so beautiful. I think this often too when looking at Luna. She is so precious, so tiny, so dependent … yet she is already blooming up like a flower, stretching up away from me, the soil which gave rise to her, until she reaches up to the stars and moon and sun.

    I can only hope what all we parents hope … that she will always love me, though I understand now a child’s love for their parent can never be like a parent’s protective love of their child.

    Thank you for the marvelous story. It really touched my heart.

  18. July 27, 2010 9:35 pm

    Beautiful! Well said….well written. You hit it right on the mark. I have two teenaged daughters. There is much about this time that I love, but there is so much I miss too….like cuddles on the couch when they were little. :)

  19. July 27, 2010 11:18 pm

    So beautiful – my, oh my. I love the way you write about them in 10/15 years. Sure, love will look and feel different then but how will it be recognizable?

    This piece was so touching. Especially on an eve when my little one nursed to sleep, all salty and sweaty and smelling of apricots. With a tiny hand she played with my braids. Five years from now, in some ways, will feel like a million miles from here. Now.

    Thank you for your beautiful piece.

  20. Judy permalink
    July 28, 2010 9:34 am

    Rachel – you know how to tear at our heart-strings – with all these tender details

  21. July 28, 2010 12:01 pm

    Wah Wah. You just strike up a sentimenality within that is oh so perfect. It is so true…that our children can teach the world about mindfulness. How do us parents always manage to get in the way of all that? Our children should be raising us. Ah, but the inner sweetness. I’ll have to remember that.


  22. July 28, 2010 1:12 pm

    And this is why parenthood is worth it.

  23. July 28, 2010 3:54 pm

    If I could, I’d ride my bike over to your house right now and leave you a raspberry
    How precious is that son of yours? I’m inspired to leave some love raspberries for people to find around our house.

  24. July 29, 2010 8:31 am

    Rachel – this is an exquisite post. I love that there is so much adoration in my daughter’s eyes as she looks at me now but, like you, I know it’s fleeting. I dread what lies ahead, and maybe that’s a good reason why we should live in the present now more than any other time of our lives because then we can truly relish these moments of unadulterated joy, love and innocence.

  25. ike permalink
    July 29, 2010 6:38 pm

    So beautifully written and all so true.
    It is difficult to not look ahead to the future (of course I do it too regarding our evolving relationship with Rosie and Col) but I hope you continue to savor the present.

  26. July 30, 2010 12:32 pm

    oh, rachel. i can’t even let my mind crawl *towards* the corners of what teenagedom might look like – (could this be because i was an Awful teen? hmm…prolly.) but to stand and love in the present – we should all be so lucky to be as Here and Now as our children.

  27. August 8, 2010 11:27 am

    Lovely. Just lovely. So glad I found your blog!

  28. August 18, 2010 6:50 am

    Tears in my eyes…what a beautifully worded post. This time is indeed fleeting. My kids are always bewildered when I cozy up to my mom (their nanny) and explain that I am nanny’s baby girl. I love the light that dawns on their faces as they begin to grasp these infinite ties of kinship, and that someday they’ll hold their own babes with the same love parents everywhere conjure as if by magic…it’s just there. Thank you.


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