I’m not sure if having children is on the cards for me; I’ve said this here before, I’m sure, and I’m saying it again because it’s still true. I’ve watched my friends bringing up their children, and now I’m experiencing it on an even deeper level as I support my sister. Motherhood changes you on a cellular level — I’ve seen it, I feel it, I know it. It’s a club you walk through fire to belong to, and sometimes those of us on the outside can feel a little left out.
But I’m discovering that this auntiehood gig is pretty intense too — it’s just taken at a more stately pace. Yesterday I babysat Wobble for a couple of hours while his mummy had an appointment in town. The last time it was just me & him it was a breeze – all giggles and snuggles and practicing our crawling.
Yesterday was different.
We started well — he ate his lunch like a champ and we played for a bit; he now has a Ph.D in crawling and was bravely exploring the kitchen and living room. But he has two teeth coming through and at some point the pain must have kicked in because he started to cry, and he didn’t stop for nearly half an hour. The poor lil dude was wailing.
I’ve been with him when he cried in the early days, but I just wasn’t emotionally prepared for the heartbreaking tears of actual pain that came yesterday. I didn’t know what would soothe him, so I just held him and rocked him and let him know he was safe as he cried into my shoulder. I talked to him as gently as i could, and then i started singing. And after a while the sobs abated and he fell asleep in my arms, and the more i sang, quietly, nuzzled into his neck, the more choked up I became. I felt how small he was, and how much i want to protect him, and my heart just cracked open – i could feel it happening as his tears soaked into my T-shirt and my tears fell on him, and that was it – a sodden mess of emotion and empathy standing in the middle of the living room.
And I’m sharing all this here because I know you mamas out there know what I’m talking about and are no doubt nodding your heads with teething memories of your own, but you know what? It was a big moment for me, not only in my auntie initiation but also in my healing. Every time Noah cracks my heart wider I realise how tightly i have held it together, how much I have wanted to protect myself from pain. But by doing that I also protect myself from love. And again and again this little boy is breaking down doors and bringing his auntie back to life in the place it matters most – in my heart. Because I can’t help loving him – it is instinctual and powerful and I’m powerless against it. And sometimes it scares me, but all I can do is roll with it…
I heard a rumour that there’s a holiday of thanks happening somewhere in the world tomorrow, so this evening I’m thankful to have this amazing little healing guru in my life… and I’m grateful to all of you who come here and read my ramblings – thank you! xo