My husband was reading an article about love. It posed a hypothetical question, and he read it out to me. “If you were in a sinking hot-air balloon with your spouse and your kids, and you had to throw someone out so that everyone else could survive, who would you throw out?”
(Actually, that’s not a great hypothetical. Think three parachutes left on a plane and four people, or some kind of zombie apocalypse scenario.)
“Of course I’d throw you out,” I said to my husband quickly.
It was perhaps a little too quick, so I added, “I mean, I’d jump out myself, naturally. But of course I’d save the kids over you. You’d save the kids over me, too, right? I’d want you to.”
From the look on his face I could see that I should have at least pretended to think it through.
Don't get me wrong. I love my husband, I really do. But what I feel for my kids is different. It goes beyond love. It's something so deep and primal that I don't ever have to question it. I just know that I would do anything, anything, anything at all for my child.
Self-sacrifice, when it involves your child, isn't noble. It's just natural.
Many years ago, I knew a woman who donated a kidney to her daughter. She found it strange that people were praising her for it, as if she was doing something generous. To her, there was no question that she would do it.