My Skin, My Soul, Child Of My Loins
HBM has set us a challenge, plunging us again into a blogging adventure, building community again through shared revealing. So here I plunge in...
(and apologies for mangling a quotation for my title that I think more directly addresses the shady side of the topic than my post really does!)
How do you describe, talk about, sing the song of your love for your young child? How can you appropriately carry the raw physical pull, the power of emotion that crashes over you, into mere words? I do not say "mere" lightly when I talk of words, either, for I love words dearly, but here I concede that they are indeed, with limits. I have been thinking about this since reading her call earlier this afternoon. How, how, would I even approach posting about this thing?
I could, as she suggests at one point, talk of Plato's two halves of one whole being, one soul, finding each other and coming together. For are we not in the business of finding the essence of our children, of learning them, inside and out? Our obssessive hands-on inspection may be thus explained. Certainly. And it removes that taint that she speaks of, the idea that in trying to describe the full breadth and depth of our love, the physical magnitude of it, we might have our meaning mistaken, for it removes the whole affair to that higher, "purer" intellectual plane, where such base thoughts can be safely snubbed. But I'm not all that comfortable there, and I don't think it captures for me the rawness of it, the instinctiveness of it, the fierce animal nature of my love and protectiveness for my child.
I could talk in the language of poets, cleverly bending words to my will, twining and twisting them into a wicker effigy of my child and myself entwined in a classic embrace, a madonna of the mind's eye. But again, I don't think they can quite do it. I even came up with this beauty (*eye roll*) in my mental fiddling, it both mocking and escaping poets' attempts to snare love in words (yes, laugh away, it's silly):
My love for you is nothing like a red, red rose. I could not possibly count the ways. Your beauty, to my heart and mind, is not remotely temperate. You are, quite simply, the meat of my soul.
And it's true, she is just that - doesn't sound so poetic, though, does it? And on a day-to-day basis, what it comes down to is perhaps more aptly described by the actions I make instinctively towards her, for aren't we talking here about the physicality of our love?
I can't keep my hands off of my daughter.
Agog at the soft roundness of her sweet pink cheek and the tiny nub of her chin, I cradle them, draw them to me to be covered in kisses.
Spotting a small pebble of sleep nestled in the corner of her eye, I must smoothe with my hands this smudge from her perfection.
The gleaming golden honey of her hair compels my hand. I cannot but gather it into ponytails, comb it through by my touch, tangle my fingers deep in the thick silken mass of her tresses, marvelling at the evolution from the down that had once near-covered her sweetly scented head, and plant more kisses on its glossy surface.
I compulsively gather her to me, embracing and enfolding her, reclaiming the pieces of my heart and soul that now inhabit her, find their form in her, bringing them back as close to their original home in my own chest as is humanly possible. It is as if I hug myself with joy.
I encompass her in the circle of my arms, an extension of my protective instincts towards her, at once warding off the outside and teaching her of the safety and love to be found in me, in the world inside my arms.
I smell her, breathe in her essence, memorize her scent as a mother does, so that I can pick her out among others, so that I shall know her, in every way, with all five senses. If smell is indeed the strongest stuff of memory, I am delighted to gather in as much of her young sweetness as I can to remind of these golden days, to bond her to my brain stem forever.
She begins to squirm, impatient, under my touch, in the curve of my arm. "Leave me!" she cries, eager to return to her play, to be the being she is becoming. But how can I possibly leave her unhugged, unwashed by kisses, free of my wistful pats and caresses? They confirm for me the unbelievable - I have a baby, I grew a piece of myself, and she walks the earth. This gorgeous creature, this angel in the flesh, is mine. My soul has indeed been made corporeal and sits before me, and I don't want to lose touch with it. Putting my hand to her makes her real, makes her mine, claims her for my own.
Perhaps those primitive anthropophagist societies were onto something with the belief that by consuming a person, you ingest their essence, absorb their magic, and retain them as part of you in body as well as memory. After all, what is it we always say about babies? "I could just eat her up!" Fierce hugs and kisses will have to suffice, poor devices though they are for transmitting and expressing an all-encompassing love in the form of physical affection. Perhaps more and still more will make up for the faint way in which they say what we wish we could? Yeah, that's the ticket...
I would like to direct everyone who is interested in this challenge and topic to this post. It is simply amazing, made me smile knowingly, expresses exactly the kind of joy we take in enjoying our children as beings that fit perfectly with our own kisses and nuzzles. It's gorgeous.