When I was pregnant with my middle son, I became concerned with the notion that perhaps I could not love the baby growing inside of me as much as I loved the one to whom I had already given birth. I was just so very enamored with the baby I had, it was hard to believe that I could feel as passionately about the one not yet born.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” mom told me. “Your love multiplies. And with each child, you get more love.”

It was a simple comment. And, as with most simple comments, it sticks with me longer than expected. And, of course, my love has done nothing but grow as we’ve added boys to our family. Well, maybe not nothing. There are ebbs and flows to every love, especially with teenagers. But it has continued on an upward trajectory.

And so, on a busy Monday morning, my second son wakes with a very specific pain in the right side of his abdomen. I assume he has appendicitis. There are not many positives to being a hypochondriac. I have made more than one hurried and invalid diagnosis. But on this day, I am right. The doctor verifies my prognosis and within several hours, we are at Boston Children’s Hospital, scheduled for surgery later in the day.

While we wait for the operation, I call and text many people. I look for reassurance that my son is going to be ok. That I am going to be ok, that we are. I receive love and concern from every connection. It is so important to me. So valued. So very right.

My boys call, too. They wish their brother good luck. My middle son does not like this wish. “Why luck?” he asks. They love you, I tell him. He grimaces. He smiles.

It is a simple procedure, we are told. And it is. He is young and healthy and grasps my hand while he dozes in the recovery room. “Bowdshagin,” he murmurs to my husband. It is a joke between them. And with this non-sensical utterance, we have our boy back.

I am grateful. I am blessed. I am overwhelmed with love for my son. Later, as I help him stand and move slowly toward the bathroom, I think of Travis Roy, the college hockey player paralyzed in his first game. How it must have been for his mother to stroke his hair and hold his hand and tell him it will be alright, knowing that it would not. As my son sleeps, I look at his small surgical wound. I think of my friend’s niece, recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. And the many unknowns in her future, the strength of her parents, summoned from who knows where.

And I think of my pre-appendicitis life, my time before this minor disruption in our otherwise messy lives. That same appendix-losing Monday, before the hospital visit, before the worry,  I was at yoga. It is my resolution for 2016, regular attendance at a yoga class. Because my body needs the stretching, the flexibility. It is harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning without feeling like an 80 year old woman, hobbling along until my limbs feel like behaving. And so I hold a Downward Facing Dog, in my Lululemon leggings and bare feet. I pose awkwardly close to a beautiful 26 year old yogi. Sweating. Straining. Contorting my body in ways it doesn’t like. I start these classes each Monday with a singular goal in mind: coffee. And at the end of each session, I sigh with relief.

“I bow to you in kindness and gratitude,” says my beautiful instructor in closing, to her beautiful class. And also to me. “May your lips say only kind words. May your heart feel only kind thoughts.”

In my first few classes, early in the year, I secretly roll my eyes at her words. Because we are far from the Buddhist origins of this blessing. And, although most of the audience is much younger than I, their lives are not unlike my own. We are, most of us, more interested in things than in thoughts, immersed more in clutter than in kindness.

In the weeks that follow, however, as I continue to live my resolution, the closing words in my Yoga class become more important than the flexibility and stretching that brought me there. I am pleased with that.

My mother was right, you know. Love does multiply. And if you let it, it doesn’t stop with the birth of your third son. It continues. To nieces and nephews, in-laws and out-laws. To my own wonderful friends and to the tribes of brothers-from-other-mothers who surround my sons. To little girls I have yet to meet and hockey players who no longer walk. I am learning this. I am struggling to live it.

I like to imagine a world in which we all do.

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