The mammalian embryo, having practically no yolk available as food, is dependent for its survival and growth on the prompt establishment of relations with the circulation of its mother.
[Patten, Foundations of Embryology, 289]
quoted from Dr Thursday's Advent Reflections Week One, Thursday.
He has started an Advent Series on:
The Bricks and Mortar of the Temple of the Spirit:
A Chestertonian Considers the Science of Food and Its Bearing on the Most Holy Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
The quote above particularly struck me in relationship to attachment. I thought I had blogged about attachment but apparently I haven't, since I can't find anything by searching.
Over nine pregnancies and many years of nursing little ones -- over 15 years, I think it is -- I've definitely pondered many times on the importance of relationship and "circulation" in the well-being of the human infant.
It strikes me that this "establishment of relations" continues to be a major focus in raising and educating those children. .... sure, their relations broaden out towards the circulatory system of the family, the local community and then the Church Body and the world. But it starts with two heartbeats and one radically dependent upon the other.... a physical, ongoing Act of faith, hope and love.
Of course, it is difficult to think in this vein (honestly, no pun intended) without thinking on the one hand of our Lord, choosing to become a embryo and infant in this way and thus consciously choosing this ongoing dependence to a frail human creature -- and on the other hand, of abortion and the violent and to the child annihilating disruption of this relationship.
This picture is next to my bedside. My sister in law gave it to me; it was made by her aunt. I love the way the little Infant reaches up His hand, as my own little ones did so often when cuddling in my arms.
Maria Montessori wrote this prayer:
Help us, O God, to enter into the secret of childhood, so that we may know, love, and serve the child in accordance with the laws of thy justice and following thy holy will.One of the first things, it occurs to me, to remember about the infant and young child is that its whole life is dependent in so many ways upon relations and a healthy circulation, not just physical but emotional. For a small child, physical and emotional and cognitive are so closely intertwined that a child who is emotionally deprived, as the children in Romanian orphanages, often will be stunted intellectually and even physically fail to thrive.
As my youngest child is going through a "live-wire" stage it also reminds me to remember that even a big boy of just six is still in many ways dependent upon his family's attitude towards him -- particularly his mother's attitude -- for what his attitude about himself will be. When he looks into my eyes and sees himself reflected as a problem, that is how he will see himself. If he sees faith, hope, and love reflected through committed behavior "slow to anger" but never idle or indifferent, loved through naughtiness, he will hopefully see God's view of him reflected in his mother's eyes and feel God's grace running through our mother-child circulatory system.