Borrowing from a famously ill-advised literary device, that means “God in the machine”. It’s when storytellers run out of logical ideas to save the day and come up with a “magical” solution out of the blue, like Superman (II) finding a green crystal lying in the rubble of his fortress that will give his superpowers back after he supposedly gave them up forever.
However, I think God in Mother Love is not so far-fetched. I think being a parent is one of the greatest means of understanding part of the unknowable nature of God, as many people think of Him. Mother’s Day is as perfect a time to reflect on it.
When they’re born, empirically speaking, babies offer nothing but work, lack of sleep and frustration. They have earned nothing, and yet we are delighted to cater to and nurture them 24 hours a day.
We are stunned and fascinated and brought to tears simply staring into their little faces. I would instinctively throw myself in front of a bus to save him from suffering, simply because he Is and he’s mine.
The mere idea that I made a whole person in my own body is the craziest notion, and yet we all have the equipment to do so.
Even on his worst day, I still love him and can’t wait until he’s happy again. I have been shamefully able to stay mad and hold a grudge against practically every other human being I know, except this little person who isn’t thanking me or helping me and is mad at me because he didn’t get a second bowl of goldfish crackers. I want to squeeze him and kiss him while he’s yelling at me behind a slammed door. I’m only sad when he acts like he doesn’t love me.
I go to smelly circuses, massively expensive parks, and ridiculous animated movies just to enjoy his happiness. There is nothing more satisfying than his laughter and knowing I found a thing or created an event or him to enjoy.
After a few years of mothering, I often feel the need to apologize to my own mother. I can’t imagine my son will ever know the depth of feelings I have for him and I don’t think he could reciprocate it as much. Maybe because I chose, and went to a lot effort, to make him and took it upon myself to be responsible for his very survival.
It’s by design, I suppose; you pretty much have to love something in tidal waves to continue to do that kind of work. All the jokes about moms being teachers, maids, counselors, cooks, chauffeurs… it’s all true, and you do it because they must be safe and fed and happy. If we didn’t love them with such wild abandon, we’d never change the second diaper.
On the flip side, as a daughter, my whole goal was to grow up and get away from my parents. If I did love them as much as they loved me, I’d never have left. Maybe that’s why moms and dads are the ones crying in the commercials where the kids drive away in the new car, or close the dorm room door.
My mom still tries to mother me and it’s annoying because I am surviving just fine without her help. Why does she still try so hard? I know now that she still loves the baby that needed her, and the little girl that idolized her. I know that because I often look at my own little boy and grieve a little for that tiny person who is no more. The one I could hold in my arms when he smelled good and I was the glowing center of his universe. When he is 50 years old, I will still time-travel-love the two-year old who laughed when I fake-sneezed. Aaaaand now I’ve made myself cry. @#$%&!
Imagine a Supreme Being who multiplies that feeling by all 160 billion people who have lived on this Earth. That’s a lot of love. I’m glad to have a 7-year old sliver of it. Happy Mother’s Day!