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23 Aug

Speaking a Joy Which Can’t Be Words*

EDIT: More links added below. Andthe posts that follow-up my correspondence with another blogger about the problems faced by some parents in expressing love can be found here and here. You should read these.

Last week, I wrote about my desire to write about my physical love for my daughter, about my love for the physical being that is her:

What I want to write… is an ode, of sorts, of whatever sort I can manage, to the real, the pure, the heartwrenching and heartlifting beauty of her form. To the impossible harmony of strength and fragility and softness in every curve of her limbs, every tilt of her downy head, every grasp of her fierce little hand.

And I want to write about this, too: how my love for her is physical, desperately physical. How my love for her wants to cleave to her, always, to feel her pressed against me, her breath on my cheek, her tiny hands tangled in my hair, her wee proud belly warm against my chest. How there is something of the erotic – the Platonic erotic, Socrates’ eros as a yearning for beauty, for the Form of beauty, of the Good – in that love.

But, I said, I feared that such love is inexpressable. And, I feared that writing about such love, in such terms, was imprudent. That writing about such love, in such terms, would provoke censure, or, perhaps worse, invite unwanted attention. And so I invited you all to join me in this effort, to find ways of expressing the inexpressable, and to find ways of doing so without fear.

So many of you rose to the challenge. You used your words so beautifully, and I’ve created a list of all of the posts (below) so that those words can be read and shared and so that they can inspire and encourage other parents the way that they’ve inspired and encouraged me. These posts stand, I think, as testament to the power of words and the power of community in facilitating and supporting words. The power of community in supporting love, in all of its messy glory.

And this power is so important, because some of you couldn’t write those words of love. One of you wrote me privately to say that the fear was just too great, to say that for the parent who is quote-unquote different – the parent who falls outside of the socio-political ‘norm’ of heterosexual parent, biological parent – such words might be dangerous.* Others wrote to say that a history of sexual abuse makes the topic too uncomfortable, too frightening. That sexual abuse corrupts any possible distinction between non-sexual eros and sexual eros, and that it destroys the possibility of viewing the physicality of such love as innocent.

*EDIT – the posts that follow-up this correspondence can be found here and here. You should read these.
As I said in the post that was provoked by those correspondences, I have no response to this. I have no words. It just hurts my heart.

I can’t change the world. I can’t snap my fingers and make it the sort of place where love is always good, where love is always joy, and where that joy finds expression in all forms. But – and I know that this sounds unbearably corny – I can, we can, make such a world of this space.

So keep writing your love for children. I’m going to keep a link on my sidebar to a page with a running list of links to your posts about love – posts that put into words the crazy messy wonderful experience of loving the amazing beings that are our children – and I’ll just keep adding links as you send them to me.


Speaking a Joy
Paige – In Response
Mommy off the Record – Make of Me Sanctuary
JessiLouise – Inside
Jen at UrbanMoms – That Moment
Mo-Wo – My Little Love
MotherBumper – Before I Had Bumper
The Mouse’s Nest – My Missing Piece
Bombadee’s Garden – Senses
Mom-101 – Born Smiling
Cheeky Lotus – Letter
Cool Zebras
Bubandpie – Beloved
Kittenpie – My Skin, My Soul, Child of My Loins
Binkytown – Unspoken
Melanie in Orygun – True Love
Sunshine Scribe – Living In Me
MetroMama – Not a Baby Anymore
Java Junkie and The Monkey – The Secret of My Own Addiction
A Mommy Story – The Power of Touch
Beanie Baby – Love Song
The Silent I – About A Boy
Much More Than A Mom – Indescribable
Crunchy Carpets – Untitled
I Got Two, Babe – It Becomes Me
Urban Urchin – Mothering
Petra’s Shadow – My Child
Zanti – Holding Little Hands
Mama? Mama Come Here! – My Love for You
I’m certain that I’ve missed some posts – I’m continuing to scroll comments for links. If I’ve missed you, I’m very sorry – please leave a comment here reminding me of your link! And if you haven’t written on this yet, why not give it a try, add your voice? (And remember, The Basement is open to anyone who’d like to write there…)

I’ll be adding my own post on eros and baby-love this weekend…

*With continued apologies to e.e. cummings…