Before I had a child, my brain new that life would be irrevocably changed by becoming a parent. I knew there would be this awe-inspiring responsibility, which I naively thought was something akin to what I felt for my nieces and nephews and students. When I first saw a Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin says something to the effect of "They don't let you become a mom until you can fix everything just right," I sympathized with his mom, who was going to have to explain to him that she couldn't bring a dead squirrel(?) back to life. But I didn't really understand.
Then my son was going a bit berserk in a fit of hyperactivity, and nearly fell. "And what if you had fallen?!!," I demanded in my my-heart-is-only-just-coming-back-down-from-my-throat voice. "Amma (Mom) would catch me," he calmly and cheerfully declared. And my heart broke in advance for that inevitable time when he will no longer take that for granted, because he will have learned that there are times when Amma can't catch him, can't keep him from hurt, etc., etc. It's not the fact that he will no longer believe it, but the pain of disillusionment that kills me. (Even though I know I've survived this knowledge about my own parents just fine). So what is it about being a parent that makes your brain melt?