Heart Like a Sieve

This week our music therapist said something about OB that shifted the foundations of our world:

"He can't show love because he can't feel love in his heart."

It's hyperbole of course. He can show love. He shows it with his sister, his grandparents, his friends. Sometimes even with me. There are cuddles and smiles and, on a good day, even an "I love you Mum."

Yet there's other stuff too. Words and actions designed to show the opposite of love. Constant efforts to rebuff my love, to provoke my ire, to re-create the shouting and chaos his infant brain developed in alignment with.

Instead of a heart that fills with the love he is offered and pours it back out to others, OB has a heart like a sieve. I pour in the love; it drains out nearly as fast. So I keep pouring and pouring because I sense he needs to feel the warmth of constant, unfailing, unconditional love, and all the time he pushes back because his heart doesn't know what to do with it all.

His earliest experience tells him he doesn't deserve all that love. He is not worthy of it. Instead of being received gratefully into a prepared vessel, it arrives like an unwelcome, unexpected intruder. And my love is the most threatening of all because it expects a level of intimacy - mother to son - that requires utter vulnerability. Self reliance is safety. Vulnerability is unfathomable risk.

And yet we love on, because it's what we do, but I learn to love him in a way he can handle. Not for us the exuberant expression of love, or fulsome praise, or love that expects a return. Love in our house is in safety, in consistency, in trying to remain calm and predictable even when every fibre of my being wants to explode. I fail often at this last one, primed as I am to meet volume with even more volume.

No brimming jugfuls of love here, that painfully stretch his heart and then drain away. Instead, a daily drip, drip, drip of affection, nurture, safety that sticks to the sides and will, eventually, block up the void spaces.

I'm stickin' to you, 'cos I'm made out of glue xx


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