My four year old went into hospital for surgery recently and he’s fine, totally fine, and so am I, but for a day I wasn’t so fine and the experience brought strange questions to the surface for me and I wrote about it. The article is up at Essential Kid.
As progressive as we were attempting to be, I was the mother and it suddenly meant something. There had been this bond, you see, and it persisted in ways I underestimated. Because in spite of all our contemporary approaches to parenting, somehow, I was still the one to make all the hospital arrangements, and the one to sleep curled around our son the night before surgery. Now he was going to become unconscious on an operating table and as though bewitched, he would temporarily leave himself. But I couldn’t forget that it had been inside my body that the enchantment had begun. His first flicker of life had happened there and I’d monitored it when no-one else could. I have been the keeper of his flame his whole life, and the yearning to be with him as this flame was subdued and then breathed back was about the strongest obligation I had experienced.