As my eldest pierced the air with a pitiful whining for the umpteenth time last night, I wondered this. Because at that moment, running on very little patience, tiredness and a generous dash of despair, I wondered if some kind of mathematical response at looking at this conundrum would bring me a reason to feel joyful.
Distance equals speed over time. I became familiar with that little formula at school.
Does Love equate to velocity over time or maybe consistency over time? Because sometimes, the velocity at which I love this child and the lengths I’d go to protect his little mind, is too much. Banks could break, over pouring with love for this one tiny person. Other times, it feels like a puddle in a ravine. Is it wrong to admit that? I’ve recently been exposed to the word, ambivalence. Look it up. It makes a lot of sense. Matrescence. Another good word. Look that one up also.
I don’t think my feelings are unusual.
I’ve posted about him a lot, my beloved eldest. Luca, the whirlwind which lead us to question early on, who’s child is this exactly? One minute the spikiness of a hedgehog, the next softening to impress you with the whole history of the Mario dynasty with an illustration to support it. What is the blasted formula to this thing we call love?
In the early days of being with my then boyfriend, now hubby, I remember us joking (lovingly, of course) as we chatted over preparing dinner. Hubby remarked on the ‘constituency,’ rather than the ‘consistency’ of pasta boiling. We may have thrown a single strand of spaghetti at the kitchen tiles to check. Ah, what fun! Maybe it is the consistency of love that is key? Laid on thick and fast it can be all consuming, butterflies in stomach, can’t keep your hands off each other kind of love.
Remember those days?
More thinly applied, maybe it’s the mundaneness of the everyday moments. Maybe it’s the balance of all things including patience, trust, understanding and hope for fun times and freedom again one day. I’ve spoken to too many friends over this last year and I think we’re all trying to figure it out still. Rekindling love with a partner is different to rekindling love with your baby of course and ultimately, leads the question of where and for whom your greatest loved is stored or is there even enough to go around or maybe just in varying degrees of intensity.
Is love the feeling of being able to fall in love with someone all over again, even when you really feel like you’ve fallen out for good? Is it the steady monotony that reminds us that we have someone to share our life with. The familiar and the boring. I’m reminded daily I can’t fall out of love with my child, however much I want to at times. At times when my heart feels thrown onto the ashes I have to pick it up, march on strongly whilst examining why it hurt so much. The next moment, all is forgotten.
It seems unfair that we are still on a life’s journey of experiencing love, yet we have to try and find the best way of demonstrating what love is to someone who is learning daily, throwing times tables and spellings in the mix to confuse things a bit. Being a grown up is rubbish sometimes.
Love is, despite an awful night’s sleep for everyone, scooping up that sodden bath soaked mess of a child this morning and feeling him in my arms with every fibre of my being. Squeezing him so tight. Snuggling him to my shoulder and reminding myself what this felt like seven years prior, when the world didn’t seem like such a threat to him and when I felt I had no reason to feel anxious for him either.
I’m so pleased I reminded myself seven and a half years ago, as I slumped back into the cold comfort of that wide Lloyd loom chair in the stillness of the nursery, with you on my shoulder after a 4am night feed, to remember this moment. Remember this. Remember his smallness, his softness, his tenderness towards you. The love.
Does love fall into the less meaningful moments where there is no effort. From them resting their legs on your lap when they watch tv… a moment that would stress me out because I feel we should be forging something more meaningful, more textbook, more heartfelt, more Insta-worthy. I think he senses the effort, I think he feels the intensity of wanting in those carefully curated moments and that’s not where the joy lies for him or me either, actually.
I drew this the other night when I felt really happy. I felt it everywhere. It felt unusual. In a world so consumed by the ideal of love, even when you know you are loved….truly feeling it yourself, is something different isn’t it? Is it possible that love for another, is only pure love, when you love yourself whole heartedly first?
As the day passes, I can only Hope and Trust, that my little boy returns to me with love in his eyes and more in his heart and I get to fall head over heels in love with him all over again. Those six hours are usually gone in an instant, today they drag.
What does love for your little ones, look like for you? x