On our way home last night, after picking Evan up from my parents’ house, my husband and I had a brief exchange about a recent tragedy in our area. Three teenagers, two of them siblings, were killed in a car crash on Friday night.
In the darkness, with the radio barely audible and waves of yellow light from passing cars illuminating us briefly, our conversation was peppered with words including, “sad”, “terrible”, and “unimaginable.”
There was a time when I could discuss loss without feeling like the air was being sucked out of me. Since becoming a mother, when I hear about a death, any death, I am rendered weak. I feel a lump in my throat, and one singular thought pervades.
That was someone’s baby.
I could drop to the floor, and cry, and become lost in that thought if I let myself. I am convinced that as we bond with our children, a switch is turned on inside us that was perhaps inaccessible before. Turning on that switch allows us to have an immense, deep, all-consuming love for our child, but it also activates a unique vulnerability, and compassion for others.
I knew that having a baby would bring me closer to my own family, but I didn’t realize how much more connected I would feel with humanity as a whole. I’ll say it — motherhood turned me into a complete sap.
I find it almost impossible to watch the news now. Stories of child abuse and neglect, young men in war who fell victim to a road side bombings, violent crimes and unexpected tragedies are just too much for me to hear. Everything comes back to that one thought, and it just won’t leave my mind.
No matter what, no matter how life may have shaped a person for the good or bad, he or she, and each of us, was once someone’s sweet, perfect, precious baby.