Before I got married, I never wanted to have children. I had my own philosophical reasons. The futility of life, the impossibility of changing the world, the existential difficulty of being, etc, etc. But I changed after I turned 30. My life felt monotone and meaningless. But most of all, I was selfishly scared of dying. As if by having a child, I would have lived through my children and the children of my children exponentially. Forever.
And when my first son was born -- his face stunningly identical to my own baby pictures -- I felt complete. I felt ageless. I felt immortal. He had my cheeks, my eyes, and my smile. I looked at him and experienced, for the first time, a kind of joy that I had never sensed before.
Today, he is thirteen and basically nothing has changed.
I still feel the same joy looking at his eyes, -- filled with hope staring at me-- if he tries to convince me into buying him the latest gadget. Or, I would still feel at the bottom of my failures as he complains, his eyes enraged, complaining about what his calls “this boring life”.
But, no matter how he feels or what he says, I would always feel the impact of his withdrawal and absence, when he keeps the silence in between our worlds by not looking at me. I become invisible before his eyes and the history repeats itself, as if I am looking at myself. And I feel restless, when I recognize my own revulsion, my own doubts, my own void, reflecting like in a broken mirror, inherited from my damned genes to this young man, defying the meaning of time and even my mortality.
My second boy was born only a few years after him, who looked totally different -- a smaller version of my husband--. Since then, my firstborn has lost his status of being the center of the world and therefore hasn’t stopped questioning my endless love.
”Do you love me more?” he’d like to ask.
I look at his eyes, begging me for a positive response, filled with impossible wishes. I know I would never be able to satisfy his desire. I would never be able to break this thick bubble surrounding him, pushing him, farther and farther, from his illusion of happiness and fairness.
“Mothers love the same all their children,” I’d say.
And I don’t follow him, running away -- mad as hell – and hitting the wall with his empty fist, to disappear in his room. I collapse, knowing I would never be able to run after him, telling him something fairy, because I know so well that the world has never been fair.
My son, looking like a copy of myself, drowning in his dreamland, hidden inside his books of monsters and witches behind a door, spoiled by the fantasy of an imaginary world, where he is the only child, the only one loved.
And I feel the dept of my failure slowly, blow by blow, by each coup to the wall, with each sound of his room door shutting, with each word out of his beautiful mouth:”Do you love me more?”
I crave for this incredible moment where I am able to show him a world where there is no limit, there is no comparison, there is no “more”, because the infinity has no limit and cannot be measured. Because this parallel world where he has chosen to live in, is floating within something else, something beyond our mortal dimensions. Something that he can name it “Love”, if he chooses to, if he doesn’t hide, if he let me reach to him, in his escape, and to grab his shoulders and to touch his soul, whispering in his soft ears: ”I love you.”
In my wildest dreams, my son identical to myself, stops his escape in a sudden move, comes back toward me, smiling, already transformed into someone else that I have never seen before.
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Beautifulby Abarmard on Thu Feb 14, 2008 08:05 AM PST
Beautiful and gentel, simple but emotionally complex piece. I have three children and they are not in their teens yet. I believe every step is a joyful experience at the end.
Thanks and happy valentines day
Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom!by Azarin Sadegh on Thu Feb 14, 2008 02:18 AM PST
I wrote this essay a while ago, but I was very hesitant to post it...it felt like going naked, knowing there are so many hidden sides I have tried so hard (and for years) to cover.Sometimes I feel I am such a great and cool mother and just a moment later I feel like a total failure! Raising kids is the hardest thing to do in the world, but still, since I am trying my best, and because I can't do more, so I guess I shouldn't feel the way I feel.
But you know, my first writing teacher told me:"Azarin, your problem is that you feel too much!" Maybe after all, she was right!
Again, Thanks to all of you for your nice comments...
PS: Dear Nazy, I loved your mother's wisdom. Such a beautiful way to satisfy my son's thirst for love. Such a convincing metaphor. I had always loved the absoluteness of metaphors and the way they could eliminate any doubts over the grey zones of mind, especially the wondering mind of a 13 years old still hanging between childhood and maturity. Thanks!
Palms Upby Nazy Kaviani on Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:02 PM PST
Salam Azarin Jan: You shared powerfully and oh so beautifully your precious emotions. Thank you. It brought tears and a flood of nostalgia back to me. I have several brothers and sisters. I used to ask my mother whether any one of us were her "favorite." Each time, she would hold her palms up and show her fingers to me. She would say: "Can I say which of my fingers I love more? I love them all the same and can't live without any one of them." I have two children who, despite their brotherly competitions and occasional rivalry, have never asked me that question. It doesn't mean that they haven't wondered it, but thankfully have never asked it of me, yet. If and when they do, I will raise my palms and show them all my fingers and ask them the same question. Thank you also for sharing that celebration of "love" on this particular day, does not only have to do with romantic love. There are a lot more lasting types of love to be celebrated on this day and for years to come, until we die, and beyond, just as my mother's love for me continues in her absence. Happy Valentine's Day my friend.
Dear Azarinby Love has no limit (not verified) on Wed Feb 13, 2008 08:48 PM PST
I agree with keveh Nouraee that our children should never doubt the unlimited love of their parents. Number of our kids shouldn’t make any differences on their feelings towards our indefinite love and endorsement for them.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Very moving...........by Kaveh Nouraee on Wed Feb 13, 2008 03:58 PM PST
No child should ever feel that he or she has to question the love of their parents.
Happy Valentine's Dayby IRANdokht on Wed Feb 13, 2008 02:07 PM PST
I started reading your article and it was as if I had written it myself, provided I could write so eloquently of course...
Although my only son has never faced such dilemma as your first born, there have been other subjects that caused him to behave the same and I was completely powerless, couldn't kiss him and make him feel better anymore, and I watched him fight the bitter reality on his own. It's a tough time in our lives when we realize that we can't fulfill every single need our children have ... but don't despair Azarin, it'll all be well again in a few years
you'll both get used to the changed relationship
Love is most beautiful, isn't it
our children holding the mirrorby David ET on Wed Feb 13, 2008 01:21 PM PST
sometimes its the age. they need that parallel world to deal with the cruel world that surrounds them.. so do we...
great piece. happy valentine dear Azarin