How do you measure a year? The song from Rent makes a good point. How do you measure a year? Ben has been the big “one” for a couple of weeks now and I have been trying to put my reflections on the past year into words. I guess the best way to put it is that since Ben’s first breath on this earth, my life has not been my own. I have lived for him. While I was pregnant, every breath I took was a breath that he took. He lived through me. Now, I live for him. I live for his health, his happiness, and his future.
Because of my new purpose in life that was born with Ben, the emotions that have been the most pervasive in my life the past year have been fear and love. Even the times when I feel sad or angry by something that he has done or something that has happened, I can distill that emotion’s source to fear. I fear bad things happening to him and somehow endangering his health, happiness, or future. I might become annoyed by Ben aggressively petting the dog. The annoyance really comes from a fear that the dog will not appreciate the aggressive petting and bit him. Sadness could be the result of a small cold that he picked up at daycare. Again, a fear for Ben’s health and happiness.
However, what is really at the core of the fear is a tremendous love. Love beyond measure. That is what I have really learned this year. Love beyond all measure. So, in truth, the Rent song is correct. You measure a year in love. Love that fills every inch of your being to the point where it flows out of your pores. Love that annoys others because it is like a sickening teenage-relationship in which you want to be with the other person every moment of every day and you are bereft if you are separated. Love that brings you a smile, even in the most dire of situations, at the thought of your child. It is a love that I could not appreciate until I had Ben. To quote my favorite children’s book On the Night You Were Born, “Life will never be the same.” A truer statement was never written. On the night Ben was born, I learned to measure life in love.