I've always considered myself a sentimental person (I get it from my Nana); I have a box (ok, multiple boxes) of precious keepsakes that fill me with nostalgia, however I never had been one to cry at commercials. I never let a fleeting moment of fiction dictate my emotions. I never had a son, either. Now I do. And so, now I do.
It happens with no warning. I'll be minding my business, doing Shannon Stuff when suddenly there it is - a clip of a show, a page of a book, a heartfelt moment between a Mom and her baby and it's over. My face is tingly, my throat burns, and it is with great will that I don't turn into a sobbing heap on the floor. OH THE HORMONES! I wailed internally. But the hormones are dissipating and still I catch my breath at any mention of a mom and her child. Why is this? I wondered... I think I figured it out.
I understand now. What I thought I already knew, I truly get (in the wise words of Robert Heinlein, "I grok"). There is a profound connection between a mother and her baby. I mean, duh, everyone knows that. I KNEW that. The difference is that I feel it now too, and lemme tell you, not to know something but rather to feel it, that's a game changer. Did you know about love? Did you then fall in love and suddenly filtered the world through a new lens? Love songs once stupid are now your mantra.
That's how motherhood has affected me. Now I see a fictional family on TV and can project my own life onto the characters no matter how small the moment. The tenderness of that mom gazing at her infant in the diaper commercial? That's how I look at Roman, I'm crying. The joy of spending a happy day with your son like in this book? I dream of magical days like that with my boy, I'm crying. The devastation of losing a child in that horrible TV show plot? I couldn't imagine the terror, I'm crying (and also never watching again).
I also have a better understanding of the pettier sides of life. The whole mother-in-law versus daughter-in-law debacle, I just didn't get it. I have always had wonderful relationships with my mother-in-laws, and to think there are families that are broken by jealousy, trust issues, and the like simply because of the nature of the relationship seemed ridiculous to me. But now, I see a different perspective. First off, when a child looks up at you with all the adoration their big eyes can muster, it's heart melting and ego stroking all at once. Right now, there is no one he loves more than his parents. Someday he will bestow that love onto someone else, and while that is the natural way of things, I can see how it's painful as a mother for that parting to come (I'm glad it's a slow build, and I hear the teenage years work wonders to ease the ache). Now imagine if that person wasn't up to snuff? I realize my standards will be arbitrary, but I fancy myself a decent judge of character and if my sweet boy that I have devoted my life to brings home - or MARRIES - someone that I find disagreeable, you can bet things will be a bit tense! Luckily if I do my job right and raise him to respect kindness in others and value his own self worth, he should do a pretty good job picking a partner.
My point to all this is that there are all these shades to life that I didn't see before. I had my opinions and my judgments, and while I maintain most of my views I at least have a better understanding of where other women are coming from for better and for worse. I can relate on a whole new level.
I see life a little differently each day. I cry at commercials. I will also be the mom that texts "just to check in" every 6 hours and kisses her son's cheek 80 thousand times when he comes home to visit. I used to roll my eyes at these things, but now I get it. #momlifeforever!
Perfect Stranger, did you experience anything lately that changed your perspective on life?