When do you truly know someone? How long does it take to be able to peek into their soul?
Did I know my husband when we got married, after eight years together? Do I know him any better now after 6 years of marriage?
Do you know that childhood friend with whom you've spent time for thirty, forty, fifty years?
Does a woman know her child after carrying him for more than nine months? After all of those one sided conversations with her ripening belly?
Yes.... and no.
I'll begin with you can never truly know the inner workings of a person's mind. It is even more difficult to know someone who does not know himself. But the underlying problem is that we are dynamic, constantly changing from one moment to the next. Children especially grow and change quickly and it can be quite a battle to keep up with them.
Yes, you can gaze down with hazy, tear filled eyes at the still moist newborn in your arms and say "Hello, I know you!"
True, a baby recognizes his mother simply by scent and sound from the moment of birth. But recognition is far from knowing.
Here's what I know.
I know when Eilidh is hungry. I often know when Whit is tired long before he does. I understand the nuances in their personalities and I know them each a little better every day. I know that Eilidh rarely cries. But I know the small, seemingly insignificant, looks and sounds that mark her needs.
I'm wet, please change me.
I'm exhausted and I cannot take anymore.
I want to play.
Where did you go?
Are you gone forever? Come back!
I would like to get out of the car.
I am very ready to get out of the car.
Can we PLEASE get out of this car?
If you don't get me out of the car, right this minute.....
Knowing is a relationship. Like all relationships, it takes work, time.
For me, our journey began when I knew I was pregnant with each of them and it will continue for longer than I am aware and encompass things I cannot now fathom. A big turning point for me was Eilidh's birth. Knowing that I alone was bringing her into the world gave me knowledge about myself and my abilities, and knowledge is power. I suddenly knew that my limits were not what I had thought them to be and that, in fact, there may not be a limit to what I can endure and overcome. I knew my husband on a deeper level. I knew that with God as my foundation and Kirk as my frame, I had built a house that would not crumble.
Our journey continues each time I know what my child needs, or wants, or is best for them. I know that there are times when they are hungry, or hurt, cold or scared. I know there are times when they simply need me. And I am secure in the knowledge that I will always be there for them.
I know I missed much of this with Whit. I can remember saying "I just
don't know what he wants." And on very difficult days "I just don't
know him right now."
I know I'm blessed to be able to walk this path and cultivate a deeper knowledge of and relationship with my children.
know that everyone, myself included, does not necessarily get this with
all or any of their children. I believe this affects their
relationship as their child grows and could potentially culminate in a
raised voice behind a recently slammed door saying "You just don't know
me at all."
Some women never know their strength and fortitude. Some never know the freedom of having another upon whom they can fully rely. Some women and children begin their journey handicapped.
Circumstance, ignorance, choice, and unknown or unchangeable factors can
all block their path and make the way confusing. Some never know the joy of seeing their child at the moment of birth, never know the beauty of holding their child close and knowing that they are that child's entire world. Some lose the knowledge and never regain it. Others fight and win it back with great effort. Some never know the easy walk through the valley and only ever see the jagged peaks of danger, strife and pain.
I know that makes me sad.
I know that we can make things better.
My wish for all women is the same that I have for my daughter.
That she knows herself and her mind. That she knows her strengths and passions. That she knows she is loved. That she knows she is safe. That she knows the joy of birthing and nurturing and knowing her child. That she knows the world can be a good place and that she can make it better. And that she knows grace.