Saturday, October 29, 2011

As a matter of fact, YES I HAVE

So I was thinking this morning about something that has gotten under my skin for some years now, and that I finally feel as though I am able to comment on, and it is this:

People who say:  "Oh, you've never known love until you've had a child."


If YOU have ever said this to someone, I am going to ask that you stop reading this now.  Or, at the very least, please don't take this personally.  Because I have a few things to say regarding this statement.

First and foremost, yes.  As a matter of fact, YES I HAVE.

I have loved deeply, and fully, and to the depth of my being.  I have loved without condition, and without any thought of consequence to myself.  I have loved with reckless abandon, with purity, and with a completeness that is staggering.  And I did all of this before I ever had a child.

This is NOT to say that I don't love my child---you wanna fight?  'Cause those are fightin' words. . .
No.  I love Nolan with my whole heart and soul, and I would gladly jump into a fiery pit for him without a nanosecond of hesitation.  All I am saying is that this kind of love is NOT something new to me.

And I'm quite sure that I can't be the only person who feels this way.

(Honestly, I am not sure why people say this.  Unless maybe it is sort of like the "bless your heart" sentiment, in that you say it when you don't really know what to say.  But somehow, I think not.) 

Before I had Nolan, people would say this to me:  my doctor, a stranger at the grocery store, random people here and there.  And now that I take the baby with me when I go out, people say it still.  Some version of "You've never really loved until you've had children". . .and it makes me SO MAD!!  How do they know how deeply I've loved?!  Who are they to assume that I've never known a love like that??  And, in addition, this phrase also said to me that I was missing out on something.  That I wasn't experiencing the fullness and joy that life had to offer me simply because I had not had children.  (Which would mean that 34 years of my life had essentially just been rendered meaningless and wasted. . .)

And that is just wrong.
While it IS true that I now cannot IMAGINE my life without this little baby in it, I simply cannot say that the love I feel for him is something new.

Because I love my husband just as much. 

Not in *exactly* the same way, mind you. . . with Nolan, I know that no matter what happens I will always be his mother.  Nothing can change that.  And there is a certain kind of contentment that comes from that knowledge.  But aside from that aspect, it almost perfectly mirrors the way I love all the important people in my life. 

For example:  My brothers.  When I was 5, my younger brother was born.  And I just adored him.  Loved him completely.  And at about that time, I started having nightmares about him.  (My brain has tried to kill me many times.  Luckily for me--I've outsmarted it so far.)  I would dream that we were in a shopping mall or some other public place, and he was kidnapped.  I can remember it now as clearly as if it actually happened. . . I ran outside the mall, chasing the kidnappers, and just reached their car as they were pulling away.  I was frantic.  I was desperate.  I even remember what kind of car they were driving:  a white Volvo.  I know that because Volvo's have distinct door handles, and that's what I was reaching for as they drove off.  I woke up crying.  I couldn't have been more than 9 years old.  And I was having stress dreams.  . . .Now that I think about it, that's a little neurotic. . .

But it's the same way with my step-brother. . .to this day I still have stress dreams about him.  He's gone, he's dead, someone's hurting him---you name it, I've dreamt it. 

The point I'm trying to make is that this is nothing new to me.  I love deeply, and much.  And having a child has done nothing to change that.  It has only added to the list of people that I love completely.

The best example is, of course, my husband.  I love him when he is right, and I love him when he is wrong.  I love him when he's wonderful, and  I even love him when he pisses me off (and he often takes advantage of this fact by saying 'I love you' when I am pissed at him, because he knows that, if pressured, I will always say it back. It is simply not in my nature to miss an opportunity to say 'I love you'.).  I love him all the time, no matter what.  And that is because I LOVE WHO HE IS.  I love the person that he is.  I think that guy is GREAT.  And if he makes mistakes sometimes, it is only because he is human.  So I simply love him.  Period.  As unconditionally, as fully and completely, as I love my son.

So for everyone out there who doesn't have children yet, for everyone who doesn't WANT children, and for everyone who has ever been told "I bet you never thought you could love this much",  I would like to say, from the bottom of my heart----No.  As a matter of fact, Yes.  I HAVE loved this much.

Mind your business.