It’s difficult to love someone so much that every move they make frightens you. To want to encapsulate them in amber so no bodily harm is ever done to them by the universe’s always-present destructive elements.
It’s difficult to lie awake some nights and consider the possibility that a meteor could collapse on the roof, just like that, or that lightning could strike a tree adjacent to your window and set everything you’ve ever cared about in the world on fire.
Some night when I can’t sleep because of these thoughts I soothe myself by making quick decisions: okay, I’ll grab K and run out the door. No, I’ll head for the fire escape. And if it’s a meteor I’ll drape my body over her and force my breath into her little lungs to keep her going.
No one tells you about the morose thoughts that can creep into your head after you have a baby. You suddenly and without sufficient warning cease to be a person who gets to be protected.
“It’s funny,” my husband said one night after we put K to sleep. She was three months or so at the time. “I used to feel protective over you, but now I feel like you don’t need that protection and K needs all of it.”
I didn’t admit it, but his statement felt like a stab. My parents no longer asked how I was feeling. People on the street smiled at K when we walked by and all snippets of small talk revolved around her.
Holy cow, it isn’t about me anymore.
But that’s obvious, isn’t it? We expect that to happen and thank goodness it does because there’s nothing worse than a naval grazing 30-year-old who wears shoes too expensive for her salary to justify.
What isn’t easy to digest is this notion that we have to protect. That we want to protect but all too often, because we’re women, been sheltered and looked after for so long that we don’t feel confident in our abilities to protect.