When you’re a teenager, you think you know what love is. As a thirty-something, I can tell you that all of the boy-crushes and “loves of my life” were probably not love. More a combination of dreams, and hormones,and a desire to be wanted.
As a single twenty-something love and the idea of love changed. Love got mixed in with a lot of other things. Like what you thought you should want and what you wanted and what others wanted for you. I had the need to nest, and dating involved the considerations of careers and a mesh-able financial future. There was also just the basic human need of wanting someone to be a part of your life, needing to share your world and travel the world with another person, and maybe finding that forever love.
I consider myself lucky to have found that forever love in my twenties. And like all love, it’s taken roller-coaster route to where we are now… we’ve had newlywed excitement and “I don’t like you much” moments, but each week we know each better than the previous week, and even more importantly… we like each other more.
When I had my first child, Graham, I didn’t really understand how adding this new person to my life would affect how I viewed love. It was a slow-go at first. There were no instant fireworks. But over the weeks, there were tender moments, small meant-for-me smiles, snuggles, and night-time rocking chair moments. Later would be the moments when he would tell me he loved me as high as all of the slides in all of the parks, and that he he will always me by kissaroo. I learned that loving your own child is a FIERCE love. It’s a love I never new as a daughter, a sister, a friend or a wife. It’s something that goes beyond words. I would do anything to protect my sweet boy.
I wasn’t terribly concerned but maybe more curious about how the love for my second child would compare to that of my first baby. With Graham, it was a slow to develop, but once I fell in love with that boy, I was all in. And to be honest with you, it was different with our youngest Will. At first glance, Will had the look of an angel. I felt that motherly connection that I didn’t have the first go-round, when during his first few fusses in the hospital, I would stroke his face and put him to ease.
That baby bliss didn’t last. In fact, lately we’ve been duking it out. That kid is a fighter, a destroyer, one who gets what he wants. It usually involves bullying toy cars from unsuspecting children or sneakily getting sippy cups refilled with milk all day long. But dude… when that little man smiles at you, says Mama, or rests his head on your shoulder, you’ve made it. That’s the good stuff. The best stuff? If you’re lucky enough to get him to fall asleep on you while rocking him. Heaven.
It’s funny. I thought I needed roses, fancy dates, and a home. Then I thought I needed a little boy to hold my hand, and tell me that I’m his favorit-ist mom in the whole wide world. You know what? All of those things are fantastic. But, so is the feisty love. The baby-love that chucks a car in your face, screams in your ear, and then snuggles under your chin because he’s just really worn out and you fit him so well.
That’s love too.