The other day at my parents' house, after spending a day with my niece Emma, my sister-in-law Aimee came to retrieve her, and decided to stay and feed her.
As Aimee sat on the couch nursing Emma, I suddenly reflected upon what a powerful notion that must be, to have the ultimate nourishment for your child inside of your own body.
When your child's hunger cries are spewing forth, pleading for satiation, your own body already provides them with the satisfaction that they need.
I began to realize that one difficult aspect of parenting (perhaps motherhood especially) is that the more your child grows, the less you are able to meet their needs so readily, which must lead to a gnawing, searing sensation of powerlessness.
And when tragedy strikes, I would imagine that this suffering becomes even more palpable.
After the Columbine shootings, I remember seeing one of the victims' mothers interviewed, and she spoke very candidly about how devastating it was to know that her daughter must have been in excruciating pain, and that she could do absolutely nothing about it. She said, "I just kept picturing her lying on that cafeteria floor, wondering if she was cold...wanting to cover her with a blanket..."
Since entering adulthood, I have a tendency to become annoyed with my parents for their countless worrywart commentaries about what to wear, what to do, where to go, what and whom to avoid, etc.
I realize now that these are merely their attempts to anticipate my needs and to do whatever they can to take care of them, and of me.
I no longer live with them and have become independent in so many different ways, thereby removing the burden of responsibility they once shouldered.
I realize now that they must miss it.
When they tell me to drive carefully, I smile.
I know it's merely synonymous with We love you.