“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.”
- Elizabeth Stone
God, isn’t this so true? My heart strings can get yanked in an instant when my children are filled with this innocent delight and awe, when they are sad and hurt, and when someone else acts harshly or mean to them.
Every day when we go out into the world, I want to put armor around their hearts, as the author of A Design so Vast says, and protect them from the hurts of others’ meanness — and especially the “I don’t want you around” or “I don’t care about you” kinds of meanness.
This is a primal desire of any mother.
I see our A. — he is growing up and soon will be more aware of others’ comments and vibes. Since he was BORN and could move and mingle he has always had this vibe to him of innocently assuming he is invited wherever he goes. How many times has he looked out our back door and seen the “big kids” at the playground, collected his tools (of course), and make a mad dash to the porch door saying, “Hang on guys! I’m comin’!”
He doesn’t even have an ounce of fear that “hey maybe I’m not welcome.” He just dashes out to be part of the group. He doesn’t notice yet that the “big boys” (the 8 or 9 year olds!) don’t even give him a second look. He doesn’t notice that he “can’t” play baseball or jump around like the big kids. He is just “part of the gang” hanging out.
What will happen the day someone stops him in his tracks and says, “Hey kid, we don’t want you here?” Or “What are you talking about, kid?! You aren’t invited!”
I can see the innocent delight fading from his face. I can see it beginning to register “You mean I can’t be a part of your group? People are like that?!”
Oh how I want to shield them from such a cold reality, from such harshness.
Yet, I know too, that we will encounter suffering in life. And it is through suffering that we come to know the tenderness and the “power” that rises from compassion — for self and others.
But I think I’ll try to remember next time I’m out in the world that every person has a mother who has this same primal desire for her child to feel the sweet kindness of those who come to know her child.
Every mom’s heart is out there in the world walking outside her body.