Thirty six years ago I remember how important I suddenly became, because I was now a mum.
I was necessary to someone. He needed me above all others. When I crossed over a road I must now take care, because somebody was relying on me to come home to him safely.
In a nutshell, I became precious to myself because I was so precious to my son. Before he could utter a word, he told me in a thousand ways how he depended on me. This was regardless of my immaturity, my inexperience and my paranoia about him.
If he slept too long, I thought he had died. If he did not sleep so well, I worried about that too. I was caught once boiling an egg cup, for his gripe water, as I thought anything unsterilized would kill him. The person who saw me do this was an older friend who also was a nurse, and her laughter over the egg cup incident (it cracked in the boiling water) is still clear to me. “Wait till you have four!” she snorted, “You’ll have no time for all this angst!”
What a painful and exquisitely wonderful time, when all senses seemed heightened by this tiny person who had grabbed my heart. I spent hours just staring at my little boy. I sang him love songs over and over again, so that he would know with every fibre of his being that he was my joy and my delight. I told him a hundred stories where he was the hero and saved the world.
Time has passed of course. Two more tiny people have clutched my soul just like he did. Two other fascinating, complicated and wonderful human beings have come out of my body just as he did. Less paranoia was involved, but no less passionate love.