Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Unconditional

Dakota comes home whispering that he is ten minutes late and sorry. He stands behind me in the glow of the computer screen and I look at his six foot frame, clean shaven head and face, wide eyes and tucked down baseball hat and fill with the same effortless, endless love that has been in me for him since the day I felt his foot kick the inside of my belly. I was nineteen, lost, lying on my mother's couch. Up until then, all I knew was that I hated quitting smoking for this baby, I was going to do the right thing for him no matter what, and that I had no idea what I was doing.  At the moment I felt his small foot, I knew that I loved him more than my own life and that this love would change me forever. As is has. As it did. Unconditional. Without condition. Without condition of reason, even. Without having reason or explanation for the presence of a profound love for an unseen, unborn child, it existed. I have read more than a few times that the happiest marriages are where the partners do not see each other as others do, where each person idealizes the other, in some amount. John Travolta said in an interview once that he has a hard time caring when he gains weight, because he doesn't notice and his wife doesn't notice either. We don't see each other that way, he said, and I knew exactly what he meant. Unconditional love is like this. It sees, but not without the filter of love. It knows, but not without the filter of love. I see my husband. I see my oldest son. Perhaps you would believe I see them less clearly than you. But I know better. I know that for every flaw you might notice and assume I ignore, I see that flaw and notice what you do not, or cannot. Perhaps loving someone so deeply is not a flaw of insight, but an illumination. In Dakota I see not only his actions, but the accumulation of his choices and actions since birth. I see the events that led to his decisions, the emotions that he went through to arrive at a choice, the attempts unobserved by the outside world, the growth, the small and soft layers of texture that are invisible to all but those who looked most carefully. Without context we cannot judge. Without love we do not have human context. 

I watch three boys riding home on their bikes. They are thirteen, awkward, over eager, mocking voiced, arrogant, trash throwing and ignoring the cars around them. I watch them closely, with context. I see they are vulnerable, beloved, neglected, desperate, joyful, exuberant, afraid, young and testing, testing, testing. I am overwhelmed with love for them. Be careful, sweetheart!, I yell out at the boy in the bright yellow shirt. He looks at me, astonished, and then before he can stop it, a grin breaks out over his face.


Tania said...

This post makes me want to have a little cry and a bit of a sing. All at the same time.

Chrissy said...

You see him as he really is...right to his soul.

This got me, Maggie May. Right in the chest it got me. This is what it is to be head over heels with a baby boy who grows into a man.

Thank you. xoxoxooxoxoxooxox

Angella Lister said...

yes. oh yes.

lulumarie said...

You should write a "LOVE" dictionary 'cuz you sure know how to define that word!

Lauren Knight said...

This was so beautifully written!

And funny, how motherhood changes things like this. I have three little boys under the age of 5, and I used to see teenaged boys in such a different light. Now I see them and think immediately how they are someone's little boys and so vulnerable still. It's a beautiful thing, really.

Annie said...

Beautiful, Maggie! This post makes me think of the children who come into my library. And I love your description of the boy's big grin.

anymommy said...

"Without context we cannot judge. Without love we do not have human context."

The meaning of life right there in your words.

Amelia said...

Exactly exactly.

Elizabeth said...

I, like Tania, want to have a "little cry and a bit of a sing."

Thank you, Maggie, for knocking my socks off this morning.

Erin said...

Wow. This is perfectly put. Yes!

jessica said...

You know, I teared up reading this at the thought of my leggy boy getting that tall and big. And me feeling all mush inside looking at him the same way I did when he was curled up on my chest like a little bug. Thank you, Maggie. This is perfection.

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