I went upstairs to check on my little boy in his travel cot. Two eyes glowed back at me in the semi-dark. I bent down and whispered “I love you”. He whispered it back, and we both said “You’re the best” together.
I asked if he would like me to stay and he nodded. I lay down next to him, and put my hand through the cot to hold his.
He gently played with my hand as he fell to sleep, occasionally letting go to stand up and settle down in a different position. At one point I felt both a hand and a foot.
Inside my belly I felt the little hands and feet of my growing baby moving around. It felt difficult to imagine that I could love the little one inside me as much as the one holding my hand, but I was sure it would happen.
I hadn’t realised how strongly I would love my boy until he was born and how it would strengthen, deepen and change as he grew. Once you get married you assume you have left behind the thrills and excitement of falling in love with someone else. But I had fallen in love all over again.
It is not the first time I have experienced completely unconditional love. I needed to become a mother to understand that I have been the recipient of such love from my parents. Whilst not fully appreciating the depth of their feelings, I have always known they would love me, whatever I did. I have taken it for granted, but it has been a strong prop in my life.
Now I am the giver, rather than the receiver, I understand the nature of mother love more. I love my boy so strongly and completely that I fear letting him go, something that must happen as he grows. But I’m sure my love will change and soften as he needs me less. I know I will love him whatever he does with his life, and whatever his feelings for me.