I love the song “She’s Mine, Pt. 2,” by J. Cole. The lyrics, at times humorous and tangential, paint a beautiful, moving, literal and metaphorical picture of J. Cole’s life-affirming love for his (at the time of the song’s writing and recording) newborn daughter.
One particular line, “on this bus I sit/thinkin’ ’bout you, thinkin’ ’bout you, thinkin’ ’bout you,” stuck with me, and I instantly knew why. When I was little, my mom used to tell me that when she was pregnant, every day she would get on the city bus to go home from work, talking to me in her head the entire time. Thinking of things to tell me and teach me, loving me before we’d even really met.
Child-parent relationships are impossibly all inimitable and all unique. Research has shown that there’s a biological, chemical component to what most mothers feel for their newborn babies, as well as the abstract component that pictures seem to capture so well.
As the hologram-like woman tells Ryan Gosling’s character in Blade Runner 2049 when he discovers he might just be a real human being after all: “a child, of woman born, pushed into the world, wanted, loved.” It’s funny how many of us are privileged enough to be born to one or two people who want us desperately and love us more than themselves, yet we take off to spend the rest of our lives looking for what we already had, spending plenty of time feeling unloved while we’re at it.
Not everyone feels that transcendent love from their parents, but I do believe that everyone will come across it at least once. It’s out there, and it’s all you need to make everything else seem small and petty.
When I listen to She’s Mine Pt. 2, I recall that at one point, before I even really knew it, I was deeply, transcendently loved. “There is a God,” J. Cole thinks, as he looks at his daughter.
Before, it never seemed very important to me that after I gracefully exited my mother that September morning, her and my father were beyond gaga for me, high on the natural brain chemicals humans have evolved to secrete so that they protect, nurture, and–most importantly–refrain from eating, their offspring. After all, what kind of credit could I take for the way they felt? I was an infant. They didn’t yet know me well enough to perceive my character, which I had not yet developed because I was a potato, a potato who screamed and thrashed and was removed from the neonatal nursery for throwing off its swaddling and inciting a rebellion.
Yet, the older I get, and the more people I meet who seem to feel about me the same way the nurse who handed me back to my mother saying, “here, you take Miss Fusspot,” felt, the more it seems to matter to me that once upon a time, two people, whether high on neurotransmitters or not, looked at me, and said, to quote J. Cole, “damn it feels good to have you.”