The most dangerous animal in the world is the female of the species when she has newborns. I know this because I felt it.
I never realized a mother's love would be so raw, so aggressive and so utterly helpless at the same time - like a pineapple: all ugly and thorny on the outside and mushy sweet pulp on the inside. I've always been aware of my flaws, but for E. I am actually managing to change. A little, some of the time, slow going, lots of failure and weakness, but still: I am becoming a better person. I am more patient, I listen more carefully, I am less selfish and self-centred and I take much better care of my house and family than before.
I want to be the best I possibly can for her. (I am quite often not, but I keep trying.) I want to bend the world to her will. I want to protect her, make sure she never feels a moment of pain or sadness in her life.
This was hard in the beginning, when she cried a lot. Or maybe she didn't even cry that much. But I interpreted every single tear as a sign of failure on my side.* I would cry with her. And then, while crying, I would call my mother.
"I just want my daughter to be happy", I wailed on the phone.
"So do I", answered my mother.
And then it hit me. This is how my mother feels about me, too.
* Note to future mothers: do not do this. There's no point and I definitely will spend as little time feeling guilty as possible the second time round, but instead actually enjoy myself.