I’ve never been a baby person. Ever. Show me a wee one, I’ll smile, coo a little, say "hey, you little person" and promptly hand it back to the nearest person, parent or not. Like a dog smells fear, small children are drawn to me. In fact, just a couple days ago, while walking back from the park, a two year old tried to grab my hand much to the mama bear horror of his guardian, but life has a way of showing you lessons, at the most perfect moment, even if you are looking at a puppy, happily by-passing said wee-ones.
This past week my sister and brother in-law gave birth to two of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen in my life, and that is not my bias talking. Three months early, they have more personality than half the grown ups I meet in a given day and I am drawn to know them, to hold them, to love them, much to my surprise.
After a week of early morning calls, trips to the hospital and constant communication with my family back in Minnesota, here are the lessons I have learned from this whirlwind experience about love…of all kinds:
- Love is an action: It’s driving your mother-in-law home at 4am when you haven’t slept in 36 hours without complaint, then letting your father in-law into your house a couple hours later. It’s sleeping on a fold out cot, just to be near your wife, no matter how uncomfortable, trying desperately not to snore or wake her up. It’s not just saying I love you, but actually, with every decision you make, thinking about those you love without pause.
- Love is strong: It’s being there when your wife is tired and thirsty, about to go into major surgery...it is smiling, when everything seems to be going wrong, assuring them, that no matter what, you will be there.
- Love is tender and kind: It’s holding each other’s hand when the pain gets too much, locking eyes, without thinking. It’s being there, every moment, making sure the other person is not only comfortable but happy and healthy. Unconditionally.
- Love is spoken: It’s saying I love you when you both are so tired you could fall asleep mid-sentence. It is so true, constantly present, whether in a moment of crazy pain, or the quiet of waiting. It’s felt so deeply, that you feel like if you don’t say it, you will never have the chance again…and it is welcomed, like a long awaited hug. It’s calling family at 3am just to tell them everything is okay, their sister is okay and the babies are healthy. It’s waiting up til 3am just to hear the news, even though you have to work at 9am.
- Love is quiet: In the silent moments, the hum drum of the day-to-day life, like shopping for a raincoat together after a weekend with family and friends or waiting in a hospital room for news, hours to kill.
- Love is constant: It’s never walking away. Ever. It is knowing that good or bad, this moment is the only thing that matters. It’s as simple as being there, every second, every hour, every day….
I learned through this experience, that love actually is, all around, in the simplest of forms, in the smallest of gestures. I was reminded that love is running to your friends house at 4am because she's had a fire or sitting at a bar when the foundation of your boyfriend's company was sold to google and he has to find a new server. It's a phone call from your best friend the night your nieces are born. I learned that love means more than careers or book manuscripts or money.
That you really can love someone, to the moon and back, that you’ve never even met…just by looking at a picture. (Left: Samantha Diane/Right: Emily Annabelle)
I learned that in moments of crisis, you see someone's true character and through these moments, you develop a bond, you build memories, and discover you can’t wait to share the stories with your nieces…