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.