The sentiments vented in the NYT piece about motherhood are scarcely a template for rearing well-adjusted offspring. If the journalist did not appear elsewhere to be widely informed and balanced as regards family values and the world beyond her door, I'd be seriously alarmed for her pupils and her own children. I'd want her to experience such a piercing shaft of insight as would send her hurtling towards long-term help from the most appropriate quarter. As it is, I suspect that she has written it in a frame of mind next to 'tongue-in-cheek' in order to raise comment - to keep her career boiling - slanting the article to project the driven instincts of motherhood run wild.
To me, that editorial betrays all the hallmarks of a personality disorder. A disorder that has been rationalised as 'mother love'. The author has become so identified with her young son that he is the idol of her veneration, he carrying the whole burden of responsibility and distortion of feelings which this entails, and at nine years old. The signs are that he is already conniving with his blinkered parent to secure pride of place where the shadow of a father figure never falls. Pity him, reader, when his own turn comes. And pity the serial focus of his attentions. Pity also the small girl who is besotted with him, whom the writer casts as a Jezebel when her actual misdemeanour is to scratch innocent graffiti on a cubicle wall.
Childhood love can be genuine, as Mark Twain shows, and can occasionally last for a lifetime. The trouble is, it comes into contact, all too quickly, with the corrosive perception of the grown-up world. One thing is certain, the poor girl in this report is destined for the unrequited sort.
That the boy's mother feels her attitude reasonable beggars belief. What it says about a civilisation in which she is comfortable revealing her obsession is equally terrifying.
However compelling and super-real our emotions, the essence of sterling love is that it is, in the main, restrained. It allows space. It lets the other breathe. It draws back against its own self-serving interests. It is prepared to let go and see what survives. It is even prepared to lose and to find itself tempered as steel by the sacrifice. It reaps consolation in the ancient wisdom that it is better to have loved, and loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.The personality of the lover becomes enriched by the experience and more able to empathise with the human race. The lover receives back from newfound sources. These are uncontrived and the true instruments of fate.
And this is the glorious consequence of love that really is out of control. The nature of love is that there is no loss, only a redistribution of its legacy, a different kind of gain.
Even in this, the profoundest of states, there is a healthy mean for the purposes of interaction on this planet. Yes, we're human - not immune from folly and excess - but we do need yardsticks. It makes for a very dysfunctional society when everyone's rabid passion must have its way. That it might seem justified, and feel honest and right, is not the issue.
Of all the modern pitfalls of social syntax, those of the possessive case can be mortal.
Causes Rosy Cole Supports
World Vision, International Prison Outreach, Salvation Army, Emmaus Project, Poor Clares, DogsTrust, BUAV (against animal testing) WWT (Wildfowl &...