It’s when I’m putting my son to bed at night that I feel it most acutely. Smelling his hair. Watching him breathe. It overwhelms me. There’s a name for what I’m feeling. Vulnerable.
Absolute and total vulnerability. Vulnerability that comes from a love so profound it cannot be described. I think, no one told me about this part of parenting. But then I think that even if they had I wouldn’t have understood. Heart on my sleeve isn’t the half of it.
It’s a terrifying thing, this vulnerability. To have so much of yourself wrapped up in another person. To have them walking around out there in the world every day and feel like a huge piece of your heart is out there with them. Imagining the worst. Mind running wild.
Yet, Brené Brown writes,
“We must allow ourselves to be seen. Deeply seen. And vulnerably seen. We must allow ourselves to love with our whole hearts. Even though there is no guarantee. And to practice gratitude and joy, even in those moments of fear and when we are wondering, “Can I love you this much?” because to feel vulnerable means you are alive.”
So, I must lean in to the fear. Rejoice in the wholehearted vulnerability. And I do. I really have no choice.
Because it is an awesome thing, this vulnerability. This connection. This absolute gift. Our kids deserve our best. And my best is open, loving, flawed, vulnerable.
I think maybe the vulnerability is actually the whole point. The feeling things. The loving as deeply as we can for as long as we can. Maybe some day I’ll wrap my head around that. For tonight I’ll just smell his hair, and watch him breathe, and feel. Vulnerable.
Beautiful ! Thank you for helping us express the way we feel about our little loves and never had the words to explain it so perfectly !
Wow, this is lovely and describes our experience very well. I remember first feeling the vulnerability of a parent. When my baby made her extremely early arrival, I remember wondering and discussing with my husband what to do about the birth announcements.
If we sent them, did that make it real? If we didn’t, and she didn’t make it… does that mean it never happened. I remember how vulnerable we felt. Like we couldn’t breathe. Together we decided she deserved to be loved and celebrated no matter how long she was with us. We sent them out and it felt like taking a blind leap of faith off of a cliff.
Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing part of your story via your eloquent words. I’m so glad the post was meaningful for you.