The best, and possibly, the first thing — or, at least, the first thing I remember, anyway— that my mother ever told me, her arms wrapped around my small body, black hair glinting in the firelight, was, "Your heart is not a conduit. Not a vessel for others to bend and break and walk through at their leisure."
I, being only three years old, didn't understand, and just nodded, eager to please.
Mom's blue eyes went liquid, soft, long, blunt fingers carding through my hair, wisping through the warm strands.
"Who you choose to love is your choice, my darling."
Her lips pressed to the top of my head.
"Keep control of your own heart, my lovely, and when you find someone willing and deserving, you give them a shard, a small piece, of your ever expanding love, but never all of it. That way madness lies."
Now, here, alone, I think, I'm sorry momma. I still can't replace your piece.