The birth of a new star in my firmament (see earlier post, A New Star) ─ my first grandchild ─ has taught me that I’m a dummy when it comes to love. This little baby was my screen saver, and I used to talk to her, even kiss my computer, as her sweet pictures faded in and out.
But when I took the train up to see her, I noticed something different. I started to gaze at my son ─ how he held his child’s tiny frame, one hand cupping her little bottom, the other like a cap over her head while she rested against his chest. He’d bow his head, almost in prayer. I watched him change diapers, hold the bottle as she drank her mother’s milk. I listened to his tender voice when she belted out high decibels of unhappiness. And his own helpless face, as he whispered, “you’re okay, you’re okay,” like a chant.
One especially frustrating day, he turned to me, and said, “She doesn’t know how to soothe herself, Mom.”
I nodded. I looked away. And do you know to soothe yourself, son? I wanted to ask, but didn’t.
Sometimes, his face went through a plethora of transfigurations ─ helplessness, frustration, anxiety, despair ─ until something no one could decipher, would happen and she’d stop! Then, his eyes would light up like the North Star, his laugh rattled the eaves, and the wind rushed in through open windows.
Let me say I was no good at soothing myself when my children were babies. And now, I’m worse when I watch my child and grandchild unhappy. But, in one sense, it’s comforting to not even try. I’d seen my mother pace the hallway at 2 a.m. while I was trying to nurse her grand son. Life is simple that way. It’s either feast or famine. It’s either a new moon or a full moon.
Sometimes, my heart does cart wheels watching this new father, my son, become a father. Sometimes, my heart is stilled.
Watching him watch her ─ it’s scary ─ this thing called love ─ that stretches beyond the edge of the earth, and is reborn over and over.
6 thoughts on “This Thing Called Love”
beautiful, meaningful and an experience many of us share with you. thanks–hope it’s widely read. yours, Liz
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 2015 19:20:21 +0000
Love is like the air we breathe. like the water we drink to live. We are created by Love, we live for love and if we desire love hard enough, we become what we are made for-Love. We passes on the we know to our children and they to their.
Your post today is the best love story I have ever read.
Please add the word love after passed on the..
Congratulations on your new little one (and happy birthday)! Yes, you’ve captured the grandmother’s feelings well.
so touching! BRAVA.
Thank you for writing, Kat. Sending you some of this thing called love—and a hug.