How can I possibly sum up the response to my baby's first word? How can I do adequate justice to the completely embodied experience of the things I felt when my baby said "mama" for the first time? The truth is, try as I might, I can't. Still, I'm going to try, because that moment in time will forever remain one of the most significant moments I have experienced.
I conceptualize motherhood — and the intense, otherworldly love that goes with it — as a mystery of emotion. It seems if I were to look directly at my reactions-of-mom-ness, I might turn to stone, as though I'm looking into Medusa's eyes. Or perhaps, like Icarus, I would fly too high into the bright-sun-like mom love. The beauty and heat of said love would overwhelm my senses and send me plummeting to the earth. In other words, reactions to milestone events, like when my youngest said "mama" for the first time a few months ago, are all-encompassing moments. My thoughts race, I feel literally all the extreme emotions, and my body is overcome with sensation.
My whole life people have been fond of telling me I'm "over-dramatic." For numerous years I've tried to tamp my experience down so others would be less put-out by my extremeness. But you know what I found, dear reader? Maybe I'm dramatic because I feel things with my whole being. Tamping it down is bullsh*t. I had all these big feelings that followed when my kid said "mama" because, well, they are meant to be experienced! When my youngest said their first word, "mama," all of the following things simultaneously were felt: