Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Couldn't Have Known

I didn't understand that I would feel a certain kind of love as a parent that I have never felt before.

When I was a teenager, I was playing a game at a friend's house, and my mom called and told me to come home. When I got home, I asked her why she wanted me there, and she didn't have an answer. "I just want you here," she said.

I was bored at home, and clearly my mom was being unreasonable, since she had no reason to want me at home. So I waited for a while, then sneaked back to my friend's house.

I didn't understand then that a person could love someone so much that would just want to be near them. I didn't understand that maybe my mom just wanted to gather her children around under her own roof for a day. I didn't understand that my mom may have been happy just listening to us kids goof around or just watching us watch TV.

I could only understand what I wanted (playing with friends) and that my mom's irrational request was interfering with what I wanted.

I've always hated when people have told me, "As soon as you experience X, then you'll understand." But this time it's true. With Mari and Des away for a couple of weeks, I feel a keen desire to be near them, to sit and snuggle, take a nap with my family nearby. We don't have to be doing anything special. I'd be perfectly happy just watching Des play on his own, or to hear him driving his toys around the house.

Maybe I understand now, Mom. I'm sorry I ran away that day. But I don't think I could have understood that you might just want to be near a stinky, selfish (and self-conscious), moody teenager just because you loved him. I could not have understood how you felt until I had a child of my own to love with my whole soul.