Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Having a flame

As progressive as we were attempting to be, I was the mother and it suddenly meant something. There had been this bond, you see, and it persisted in ways I underestimated. Because in spite of all our contemporary approaches to parenting, somehow, I was still the one to make all the hospital arrangements, and the one to sleep curled around our son the night before surgery. Now he was going to become unconscious on an operating table and as though bewitched, he would temporarily leave himself. But I couldn’t forget that it had been inside my body that the enchantment had begun. His first flicker of life had happened there and I’d monitored it when no-one else could. I have been the keeper of his flame his whole life, and the yearning to be with him as this flame was subdued and then breathed back was about the strongest obligation I had experienced.

Blubbing as I pad.

Although I can foresee my fear when my 10mo inevitably comes under the care of doctors, one day, even now simply letting her be away and out of sight for an extended period, especially with non-family, is hard.  And bluemilk's "keeper of the flame" idea is what it is.  I keep thinking "But I'm the last one, the one she needs most, because I'm the mother."  It feels so selfish and grandiose (sorry Dad) but such a desperate responsibility, a weight I knew I choosing with parenthood.  How can I do less than what she might need?

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