Friday, June 02, 2006

The Edge of Love

K and I were recently talking about the way that having children has introduced us to a new kind of love. It is, overwhelmingly, the most powerful love either one of us has ever known. Strangely though, this love is tinged with a razor sharp edge called fear. Never before have I had so MUCH to lose. Now that my children are a part of my life I don't want to imagine life without them. But there's that lurking fear...

When I am falling asleep at night I am vulnerable to it. Sometimes, in the moments between waking and sleep, I imagine the worst. Tragic and awful scenarios unfold – one or both of my children end up gone forever – sometimes K is gone too. When this happens I come up from near sleep with a sudden gasp, but before I can wake up enough to realize that none of it is true, I feel the deepest despair and panic.

I spend what feels like the longest thirty seconds in history in a state of absolute devastation. Before I can beat the fear and panic into submission, my imaginary self sells all my belongings and my house, buys a plane ticket to a squalid beach grotto in a third world country, abandons all my friends and family and literally walks away from my life. She spends the next 5 years drinking on this beach trying to figure out what the meaning of life might be and why it is so cruel. Gradually, she develops relationships with locals and fellow travelers also running from their pasts. Slowly these relationships become binding and life begins to go on. Her time in this third world beach town reminds her that for me, meaning in life has always come from my connection to other people.

I blink.
I realize I am still in my bedroom. I listen to K breathing beside me. I tell myself that it would be awful if something bad ever happened to the children. I remind myself that nothing bad has happened today and that I am doing my best to protect them from harm EVERY day. The fear and anxiety is beaten back. I drift more peacefully to sleep in love, in love, in love with my family and thankful for each day with them.

5 comments:

Mel said...

Quit it! Quit! It! Quit making me cry. I actually gulped down a sob just now.
And with the sole exception of the scenario I picture unfolding (mine involves my ending up living in between aisles of stacked-up old newspapers, a weird crazy hermit lady), I do this, too.
And it sucks, and it's scary, but maybe that's instinct finding a way to make sure we're vigilant in these modern times.
[/longest comment ever]

Sayre said...

Exactly! Having a child is the most wonderful, terrifying thing I've ever done.

kim said...

it is so scary to love so much. to have so much to loose. enjoy every minute and stop eating sweets before bedtime lol

haewon said...

a coupla things that help with the panic attacks: life insurance (for you), disability insurance, 529 funds, IRAs. somethings you have no control over but some you do and it feels good to know you've got a handle on them. ok, the uber-virgo will shut up now...

Your Aunt Nancy said...

I know exactly the feeling you are talking about. I am reminded of many a TV show turned off in the middle because it involved the loss of a child. When my kids were young, if I were to watch such a thing or try to read a book with that scenario, my soul would dive to depths never before realized. I have known people who have lost young children and I just don't know how they continue their lives.