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A Parent's Fierce Love for a Child

Dr. Debbye Turner Bell CBS

I have come to this parenting club late. I married at 42 and gave birth to my daughter at 44. (Who says miracles don't happen anymore?!) She is, of course, the most beautiful, intelligent, clever, gifted baby in the world. If you don't believe me, just ask her father. Because I have been around the block a few times, am a little long in the tooth, and have seen a few things in my lifetime, I thought that becoming a mom would be fairly simple. All I needed to do was just read the most credible baby books available, get wise counsel from family and friends, and fake it until I could make it.

At my age, I thought I knew what true love is. Lord knows, my heart has been opened and broken many times over the course of my checkered dating past. But I was not prepared in the least for the kind of rapturous, over-powering, all-consuming, feel-it-in-my-bones love that I have for my precious little girl. (That of course is not including my many-splendored love for my husband. But that's for a different blog.) Yes, I have heard other moms talk about this love. How they never knew they could love like this before. How they fell head-over-heels in love with their child the first time they laid eyes on him. I thought that was all hyperbole; the musings of hormone-drenched supermoms that tended toward the dramatic. Well, now I know. I love this little cherub so much it hurts. And that scares the poop out of me. Really and truly, I never knew I could love another human being as deeply and completely as I do my child.

Something happened during delivery that awakened the Mama Bear in me. My protectiveness of this child is so fierce, I would reach down your throat and rip out your kidney without a thought, if you were a threat to the health and well-being of my daughter. No one is more surprised to hear this than I. I am of the "make love not war" set. Can't we all just get along? I have never in my life been in a fight. If I could avoid a confrontation, I would bend over backwards to do so. I still cry when I get mad because I just can't handle the weight of the emotion. BUT -- now that I am a mother, I am willing to go 20 rounds to keep my girl safe.

I can't stop thinking about her. Her name is Lynlee, by the way. I miss her while I am at work. I frequently look at the pictures of her that are stored on my phone, just to see her darling face and chubby cheeks. I kiss her so much that she is already brushing me away, at 6 months old!, with that "Oh mom, please, you're embarrassing me" look on her face. I am tempted to wake her up some mornings when she is sleeping late solely because I missed her overnight. EVERYTHING she does is adorable to me. Even her poopy diapers are the cutest thing ever. Yes, I have become one of those crazy moms (the ones at which I used to roll my eyes) who couldn't stop talking about her child. I get it now. Boy, do I get it.

The thought of anything bad happening to Lynlee virtually paralyzes me. I have prayed more in the last six months (really 15 months, since I learned I was pregnant) than ever before in my life. I am constantly asking God to protect and bless her. Now, watching the news is a gut-wrenching, traumatic experience because every news story about a child who was hurt, attacked or killed, nearly kills me. I can imagine the pain that child's mother must be experiencing. I think of what it would be like if the child were mine. God forbid!

Someone once said that it isn't really love unless it hurts. That made no sense to me until I had Lynlee. Will she ever understand how much I love every gorgeous, soft, amazing inch of her? Yes, she will. When she has a child of her own.