On the Eve of all that is Valentine's, I have this to say...
Before Trevor, I had been in love two times.
One of those times was young and innocent and new and safe. And oh, I loved him. "Thought I would marry him" kind of love. But like I said before, we were young and innocent and new at this whole love thing, and when push came to shove, we were too young to make any of those decisions involving marriage and forever and so we moved on. We keep in touch occasionally and it makes me so happy to see him with a beautiful wife who happens to be an English teacher, just like me.
The other of those times was much, much different. What I thought was love was obsession. What I thought was a partnership was dependency. It was dangerous, this love, and yet I kept going back for more. I have heard before that we try to heal our childhood through our relationships. I am pretty sure that is what I was doing here and what a scary ride it was. We no longer keep in touch, and that also makes me very, very happy.
And then came my Trevor. He came right when I was least expecting it and when I had stopped trying so hard to just be loved by someone. They say that happens. This love taught me how true love - REAL love - is unassuming and humble and graceful and grateful. Trevor taught me that I was more than enough "as is," and that no matter what form of crazy I took on any given day, he would love me anyway. Like really, really love me and never, ever leave me. So I married him, which is what you should do when you find that kind of love.
So we tried making babies. That failed. Twice in two years. And my heart broke into a million little pieces because I was pretty sure this was all a result of the karma I deserved. I refused to ask God for a baby. Refused. I didn't think I had the right. And then after having watched the first set of foster kids walk out our front door, I finally said a little prayer. It went something like this: "Okay God, I said I wouldn't ask, but I lied. I am going to ask you one time. Just one time. Please God, send me a baby. A baby I don't have to watch walk out my front door. Please." Two weeks later, Nico was in my arms.
True story, people. True story.
And THAT love - how to describe THAT love. It is earth-shattering, man, completely and utterly life-altering. It's the kind of love that has you saying prayers that sound something like this: "Please God, whatever you do, watch over this one every second of every day. Don't ever take your eyes off of him, God. Ever." It's a love that through the exhaustion, self-doubt, fear and isolation, is all-consuming. I am pretty sure it's supposed to be because how could you survive that first year otherwise? And so when my little man was placed in my arms I said to God: "Thank you, God, thank you. I am so happy and so complete and so full because You made me a mom so if this never happens again, that is just fine with me. You answered my prayer and I am full. Completely full."
Then we all know what happens, right? What happens is that four months later, after suffering from car sickness I don't normally have, and after checking the calendar and counting back the days - which I had to do like 10 times just to be sure - you realize that apparently you're not full. Nope, you're not full at all, because another one is coming, ready or not. So, you worry and worry and worry that maybe you won't feel the same way the second time around, or maybe the first one will hate the second one because after all, he is still just a baby and he deserves more time...
Then the second one comes and while you still worry and worry and worry that either of them will fully understand how much and how deep that LOVE you feel for them is, you LOVE him immediately and wholly and addictively, just like the first. And you say that same little prayer to God again, every single day of your life: "Watch over this one, too, God, every second of every day. Keep your eyes on both of them, God. Always. Please."
And just when you think there is no possible way to love either of them any more than you already do, you look down at your double-stroller while walking through the mall and you see this:
No one ever tells you that when your children LOVE each other, your own LOVE for them multiplies and multiplies and multiplies. This hand-holding wasn't an accident, it wasn't just for a second. This hand-holding was for real - so real that I had time to stop the stroller, dig through the diaper bag for my camera, and then snap this picture. This picture of connection, of protection, of LOVE.
Happy Valentine's Day, my loves. Happy Valentine's Day.