"I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." - John 14:18

Friday, September 10, 2010

Unconditional Love



6 Years & 12 Years Old

They actually had the same due date - August 29th - just 6 years apart. My bff said they were like parenthesis. But Gracie stayed put until they induced me September 8th and pregnancy induced diabetes made Dr. Vick suggest that Essie come out on August 20th, my mom's 60th birthday (unless, as he said, I wanted a 14 lb. baby!). So Essie was born just shy of Gracie's 6th birthday. 4 girls in a little less than 6 years, how lucky can one mama get?

I have really struggled to get this post written because words are too solid to capture the emotion of motherhood. I distinctly remember driving newborn baby Grace through New York City traffic. As the horns blew and the fumes came off the trucks and we darted in and out I sat there thinking "No one told me this. No one told me that my entire sanity now rests on this tiny person being okay. All the time. Forever". The vulnerability of being a parent was overwhelming in it's finality. This fragile balance would now define the rest of my life. Of course, looking back, I now realize that what I was feeling so overwhelmingly was unconditional love. There were plenty of people I loved before Gracie came along and I think I loved them well and loyally and as fully as my heart was able, but this love was something new altogether and it made what I had thought of as love before seem as small as a tear in a salty sea.

I loved Gracie so completely, so wholly that I despaired over it when I was expecting Hattie. I knew in my heart that I would never be able to love anyone the way I loved Gracie and I worried that poor wee Harriet would sense that she was loved less than her beloved big sister. Imagine my surprise when Hattie arrived on the scene and I loved her just as ferociously as I loved Gracie! What a miracle of the heart - it just grows and grows the more it has to love. It isn't finite in it's capacity to love and neither am I! So, in turn, when Mabel entered our lives - small and chicken-y compared to her robust sisters, I loved my tiny weirdling with the same joy. Even when she showed a strong preference for Mike, or my mom...or strangers on the street! lol! I thought, "That's my odd little Mabel" and I loved her even more for her quirks that were present from the day she came screaming into the world. By the time Essie was born, the capacity of my heart to love was no longer a surprise to me and I knew that Essie, ray of sunshine that she is, was in no danger of not receiving her full portion of adoration and adored she has been. I can scarcely look at her without beaming, without wanting to hug her and snoodle her to bits!

12 years since our first baby, 6 years since our last baby...and now, slow, careful steps toward a brand new member of the clan. I wonder has this child been born yet? I wonder if it will be a boy or if God will add to our giggle of girls, as my mom calls them. I think about the mother trying to make the best choice for her baby and I wonder what will become of her. Does anyone celebrate her birthday? Did anyone ever wonder if they could ever love anyone as much as they loved her? I wonder and I worry - I worry that I am not doing enough. That I need to be reaching out more, touching more lives, making more sacrifices, shining more light. I know that I do not need to earn grace - that gift was free - but God's grace makes me want to be a better person, a better wife, a better friend, a better daughter, neighbor, citizen...a better mama. At the end of the day, I am just trying to do the best I can. Some days this goes better than others but today is going pretty well. I am planning a party to celebrate 12 years of Gracie. I am getting ready to cook spaghetti to feed some firemen in honor of 9/11. Most importantly, I am handing my worries over to God. I am trusting in Him because I know as much as I love my children He loves them more. And I know that unconditional love I first experienced with Grace...God feels for me.