I could be accused of being a bit cynical... I tend to write about things from a self-deprecating point of view, rather going for the humour than face the heart.
But that said, Huey Lewis had it right -
The power of love is a curious thing
Make a one man weep, make another man sing
Change a heart to a little white dove
More than a feeling, that's the power of love
Love is crazy when you think about it. It’s a completely bizarre emotion that can have an effect on your thoughts, your behaviour, your words and your actions. I don’t think I ever really understood that until I had a child of my own. And without sounding too mushy, because you know I’m a cynic, love really is the driving force behind everything we do.
But let’s rewind. Before you have a child of your own, you know a couple of kinds of love in your life.
The Love Your Parents Have For You
Sometimes this can be beyond perplexing … you go through phases of wanting to be around them, and then not. Of being in awe of them and then hating them in the same breath. And then they lob into the conversation that they’d love me even if I robbed a bank!?
The Love You Have For Your Siblings
Love? Er what?! Okay they mostly drive us spare and when we’re young we might spend most of our time cooking up ways to annoy them or shove a piece of Lego up their nose, but as you grow up you realise when the chips are down, they’re likely to be right there with you.
The Love For Your Partner
This is the first time you’ve had a chance to go out and make some kind of choice on the person you love! You’re not just lumped in with having to love your family, because they are your family. That first flutter of love can be completely overwhelming at first, sort of like an addiction, you just cannot get enough and need to be around them… but er… fast forward a decade or so and through in some kids and that love will change into something slightly less ferocious, but deeper all the same.
But then all of a sudden there is the love you have for your child. And this is the game changer.
I mean I can remember pre-kid me hearing family or friends bleating on about how they never knew love like it, and how they’d do anything for their kids, yadda, yadda, yadda.
I just didn’t get it. It was like they’d been replaced by someone else. They looked the same, albeit with much bigger bags under their eyes, but it was as if their brains had been reprogrammed.
How could these parents get up night after night and hug and cuddle a roaring newborn who wouldn’t sleep? How could they share their bed with their babies who kicked them in kidneys and kept them awake all night? How could they be gushing over poopy nappies and taking pictures of them throwing mushy food around in their high chairs?
How could they give hugs and kisses to a child who had just looked like they’d been possessed five minutes ago, after having the mother of all tantrums on the ground over the wrong colour sippy cup?
How could they get excited about potties and happily wipe drool and God knows what off their toddlers face with their hands? How could they drink that backwash water their child had just handed them as if it was the tastiest thing in the world?
Where did they get the strength to deal with staying up with a sick child all night, rocking them, cuddling them, holding them, when they themselves where exhausted. How did they consistently manage to put these little creatures ahead of themselves at every available turn? How did they manage to go out on a night off away from said creatures, only to talk about them all night while looking at pictures of them on their smart phones? How did these kids seem to hardwire these people’s brains?
The answer is love.
It really is that all-consuming, life-changing love you’ve heard about and in my case cynically dry-barfed about.
It’s love that gets into your bones and won’t let go. It’s looking at your baby and feeling like you want to eat their cheeks, like that the feeling of them in your arms is the best thing in the entire world. It’s their little hand in yours. The super soft skin, the big eyes, the high pitched voice, it’s the sheer brilliance of everything they do, to the deep, delicious belly laughs they give at the smallest of things.
It’s the way they drive you to the edge of your patience in one breath and then make you gush with love the next. It’s the final, funny realisation that you at last understand how your parents felt about you. It’s the innocence, the love, the uncomplicated and fundamental feeling of knowing these little people are part of you forever and no matter what happens that will never change.