W ith our unusually large brood, I am repeatedly asked, “How do you do it?”
On a good day, I say, “Coffee and pixie dust,” because, surely, there must be some caffeine and magic involved. On bad days, my answer is a vacant glare followed by, “I have no idea.”
The truth is I do it with love.
Some days are filled with playful laughter. Those are the days when the love is sweet. Some days are filled with fussing, time-outs and punishments — tough love. But most days, the love is downright crazy. Anytime hugs, kisses and laughter turn into crying, yelling, fighting, late nights, fevers and vomiting, and you still walk away saying “I love you,” then that’s some crazy love!
That’s what we moms do. We give crazy love. We roll with it — good times and bad, calm moments or sheer chaos.
There have been many talks about love in our home recently: Love for one another, sharing, respect, honesty and self-confidence. All these lessons center on love.
Lauryn, my oldest daughter, is very sensitive. Lately, if I verbally reprimand her, she returns to me and asks, “Do you still love me?” Well, of course, I still love her. This crazy love is unconditional.
However, her question has sparked curiosity within me. What drives a mother to love her child so unconditionally? I had never thought about it before. I’ve never considered where my love for my children came from. It has always been there.
I decided to look into it — this thing I call Crazy Love. I discovered that my interest in the source of maternal love is shared. In fact, a 2009 study involving brain imaging, conducted by Mario Beauregard, a neuroscientist from the University of Montreal, showed that seven areas of the brain became active when test subjects were encouraged to call to mind feelings of unconditional love. For researchers, these findings suggest that unconditional love is not merely an emotion, but a neural process that relies heavily on cognition.
Kim Highsmith, child protective caseworker and Lowcountry mother of three, knows how essential unconditional love is to the development of a child.
“I see all too often what the effects are of children who lack the security and love they deserve,” Highsmith said. “They deserve to know someone is caring for them, protecting them, and loving them no matter what.”
According to Highsmith, a child’s emotional security hinges on unconditional love. She says it’s important for children to “know that no matter the situation, the love of their parents will never change.”
I may never know what truly lies behind the unwavering love of a mother. But, one thing I do know for sure is that motherhood is insanity, and I love it!
Now, when I think of someone asking me how I do it, all that comes to mind is, “How can I not?”
Happy Valentine’s Day, from me and my crazy loves to you and yours!
Donloyn Gadson is a wife and mother of eight. She is also owner of Creole Magnolia Creations, a floral design and ladies’ boutique.