On Valentine’s Day afternoon, Rowan lost his balance walking and fell over. He hit one of his two top front teeth and completely pushed it up, back, and twisted it. I cannot even think back to what it looked like without feeling an immensely overwhelming amount of shock over the pain my little 16-month-old boy felt. The experience changed me as a parent and I’ve been reeling ever since. My love for Rowan is a love so big it hurts. I’ve felt before the almost pain like feeling of loving Rowan so much that it is hard to process but never like this. I could wax poetic about how much I love Rowan and love being his mother but no amount of love prepared me for this inevitable step as a parent.
A Love So Big It Hurts
Rowan has never really been in serious pain before. He’s had some normal tumbles, had his vaccines, had a few runny noses, and had one ear infection but he has never experienced any amount of pain beyond discomfort or something like a shot where he rebounded almost instantaneously. This was so different. He was in an immense amount of pain for what felt like forever and, as his mother, it was almost impossible to bear witness to it. Our pediatrician was wonderful with him and then sent us to an amazing pediatric dentist who stayed open after hours for us with two of her nurses. Everyone was so comforting and incredible with Rowan but he had to go through more pain to try to improve the longterm outcome of the tooth.
Since I’m pregnant, I couldn’t hold him during the X-rays and couldn’t hold him while they worked on Rowan’s tooth (the position he had to be in would have caused him to kick my stomach too hard). Edwin was the most nurturing, calming, and loving dad to Rowan throughout everything while holding him in place through pain, kicks, tears, and screams as well as the most supportive husband to me through my sobs. I was so highly emotional. I found it absolutely impossible to watch and listen to my baby be in so much pain and to be able to do nothing for him.
When we got home that night, we were focused on making Rowan comfortable and as happy as could be.
We did all parts of his nighttime routine together as a family and just loved on him every single second of the way. The moment Edwin and I walked out of his nursery that night, we collapsed into each other. I felt such a physical, visceral reaction to seeing my child in pain that my love for him grew tenfold. Just a day or two before over our weekend away in Palmetto Bluff, I said to Edwin that one thing that has surprised me about parenting is the way I feel love for Rowan. Each and every day, I feel like I love Rowan as much as a human being can love another human being. I love him an overwhelming amount, to the maximum.
Without fail though, I always feel like I love Rowan more today than I did the day before – even though the prior day I thought it wasn’t possible to love Rowan more. The love just grows and grows and grows in ways I truly don’t have the words for. I know a writer or a linguist could put this so much more beautifully and eloquently than I can but I’ve found the love I feel as a parent to be so transformative and so completely different than any other big love I’ve ever had for another person. It is a different kind of love – a love so big it hurts.
Valentine’s night, after Rowan fell fast asleep, I said to Edwin that I truly didn’t know if I would be able to survive a day on this earth without Rowan. My love for him is so vast and all consuming, I can’t ever know a world without him in it. The love, the pain.
The whole experience has made me almost feel a certain level of fear for how much I love my children.
I can’t imagine the feeling of having two little people to love so much. How will my heart take it and how will it cope when they are in pain? The whole time I thought “Please God, let it be me. I will take all of Rowan’s pain away in one nanosecond if I can. Let it be me, not be sweet precious little boy.”
Rowan is back to being his happy self! I feel lighter on my feet but changed from the experience as a parent. I know there will be so many more experiences to come but gosh this first one was traumatic. For now, we know what to look for over the next two weeks until we have our follow-up appointment. We’re hoping Rowan can keep his tooth but we shall see. I just want him to feel happy, healthy, loved, and protected. I don’t think I’ve even scratched the surface of being able to articulate the full mind, body, and soul reaction I had to seeing Rowan hurt or to the amount of love I carry in my heart for him.
There is nothing I wouldn’t do for him. I love my boy so much that any and all pain that goes along with that is worth it to be his mother. Rowan, I love you to the moon, I love you to the stars, I love you to the sun. I will always be there for you, always love you, and always advocate for you. You are my darling, my everything, my whole world.