Myself (with new specs, reading only!), and the wee ones.
My son is sick with scarlet fever. (!) I have an awful cold. We are all worried about the little Mr. recovering, and also the potential of getting what he has too. Which if it weren’t for antibiotics, would be deadly. How I worry and feel sorry when I see my children suffer. Wee ones…
I don’t think anything opened my heart as much as becoming a mother. While it is challenging to be on call almost all the time (bar sleeping and showers, and time away while at work), it has opened my spirit to being more warm and sympathetic, generous and accommodating than I ever thought I would be. It has also made me very aware of the huge responsibilities that a mother holds. There is no way that you can avoid mistakes, and loving too much or too little has devastating effects in the lives of your children later in life. But no matter what, being there for your children, telling them that you love them every day, a lot, and physical affection (many hugs and kisses) is huge. When you and they can’t articulate what is going on, this kind of affection really counts. You make them feel secure, you are their haven, their resting spot till whenever, or whenever they need you.
When you can care for someone this way, you rise a level above who you were — this way being the way a mother cares for her children, protective and nurturing, but also recognizing that they are human beings who need guidance, respecting their spirits and their separateness from you (the umbilical cord has long since ceased to exist), and encouraging them to grow and enjoy who they are. Somehow too, you are more easily sympathetic to friends and even strangers; empathetic, you are able to provide an emotional space for them to rest before they keep going, nurture them for the instant that they ask it of you.
To me this is a great gift. It makes you more human.