Friday, December 17, 2010

Motherly Love

Sylvester (Sly) born Aug. 26th, 2010

I love my baby so much! It seems stupid to even say it like that. Of course I love him, I'm his mother. But it still amazes me each day how intensely I feel that love. How even through my tiredness and frustrations, it continues to grow. Until now, I never knew this *kind* of love. It's a whole new experience for me, this whole parenthood business. And while I think I was well-prepared mentatlly (having longed for this since I can remember), you can never anticipate what it's truly like.

It was just like everyone always said. Giving birth to him was certainly the most physically painful thing I've ever experienced, but as soon as he was born and in my arms, I didn't even really care. Two hours later, after the nurses and midwife had left the three of us alone, I said to my husband Tom, "I would definitely do that again. Having him made all the pain totally worth it." Now, skeptics might say, "oh, that was just the oxytocin, and the adrenaline kicking in. It's an evolutionary function to make sure that women will forget the pain and keep reproducing." The biologist in me will admit that there is some truth to that statement. But love is much more than hormones. In Sly, I was given a great gift. Not only is it easy to love someone so small and innocent, but besides, it's my job to love him.

I know there will be many times in the future when I find it hard to feel love for him. He's not going to be this sinless creature forever. He'll disobey me, and do things that make me sad or worried. There might come a time when he'd rather spend time with almost anyone but his mom. But as my husband constantly reminds me, "love is an act of the will." It's not a very romantic notion of love, but it's the truth. And I'm thankful for these early days when I get to spend so much time with him completely to myself, getting to know him, and learning to love him better. Because knowledge begets love.

So even though he's the fussiest baby in the world (or at least it seems that way sometimes), and takes up all my time and needs me to hold him all day long, I need to remember that the sacrifice now will be worth it. I am his first encounter with Love, and I need to teach it to him well.

And it amazes me to think that despite this overwhelming love I feel for Sly, God's love for me is so much greater. It's pretty easy to love an adorable baby, someone who's never sinned against you or anyone. And then there's me, huge sinner that I am, repeatedly unfaithful to God, and yet He - Love personified - still loves me more purely than I could ever imagine. Rather humbling to think about.

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