Today we’re happy to feature a submission from Jessica Burdg about attempting to describe the love we have for our children–a sometimes seemingly impossible task. This post, Her Bones, was originally featured on her personal blog.
I don’t claim to be a perfect parent. In fact, I’m really very flawed. At times, my fuse can be shorter than I’d like it to be, and I second-guess myself daily. Essentially, I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I do know that I’m doing my best. My girls know that I love them—of that I am sure. Do they know how much, though? Can I even describe the feeling in all its immensity?
Years ago, at my baby shower for my first born, my mother gave me a book called In Praise and Celebration of Daughters, a compilation of writings about the relationship between mothers and their daughters. After a quick glance, I shelved it, far too busy hanging up all the tiny pink baby clothes and putting the crib together to read. I mean, come on! (Sorry, Mom.)
I had forgotten about it until recently, when my oldest plucked off the bookshelf for her bedtime story. I thought it an odd choice for a two year old. The pictures, while classic oil paintings, don’t sparkle like Cinderella’s dress. The prose on the pages is not exactly Green Eggs and Ham. I knew she would soon be demanding another book instead, but I decided to oblige her for a moment. Sighing, I opened the book to a random page.
My breath caught in my throat.
There it was, in a quote by a woman named Faith Brown. The words I had been fumbling for. The words I knew but couldn’t formulate. A mother’s love—an emotion so raw and lofty it felt almost criminal to try and force it into letters. But, by God, Faith Brown had done it. I didn’t know who Faith Brown was, but she had put it there for me to read in this book given to me, ironically, by my own mother. Faith and I will probably be friends someday because I love her words so much, and I’ve already been began the process of Googling her work. (Faith Brown, this is your warning.)
Faith’s words: “I even love her bones.”
It’s true. It’s perfect. My children, through this crazy ride of parenting—the indiscretions, the calamities, the miraculous moments and the everyday surprises—I’ll even love your bones. It’s such a simple sentiment, speaking to the very makeup of our being.
I am your mother, and I even love your bones.
I didn’t read the book at first because I was too busy hanging up the tiny pink baby clothes that would be outgrown before they could be worn. I was too busy putting the crib together that she rarely used, favoring instead to sleep on my chest as I sat propped up on the couch, terrified of dropping her. Was she too hot? Cold? I was a new mother, too tired to stay awake but too happy to go to sleep, afraid I might miss something somewhere in that delicate silence. I didn’t have time to read.
My own mother knew all of this already, though. To this day, I believe she knows a lot without saying it. Only when I entered motherhood myself did I truly appreciate the depth of a parent’s devotion to a child. I get it now.
And I know that she even loves my bones.
Thanks for the book, Mom, and sorry I didn’t say it sooner.
Jessica a freelance writer and a stay at home mom of two vibrant young ladies. Jessica, her daughters, her taller-than-me stepson and hard-headed, occasionally charming husband, live in the Midwest. Specifically, you can find her at the intersection of You’reSoCutePleaseDon’tGrowUp and IsItNaptimeYet, knee-deep in the terrible twos. And probably crying. Her raw and honest blog discusses challenges and celebrations in marriage and motherhood–after all, we’re all in this together. She embraces and recounts her experiences in all their heartache and hilarity. Jessica is also passionate about running, the power of positive thinking and ending the mommy wars.