I had a milestone birthday yesterday – something VERY new (or old). My wonderful husband and kids had a reception at the house after we had lunch together. I had no idea I had so many friends and I don’t know how to thank them enough.
Right after the birthday this week is Valentine’s Day. It isn’t new – we celebrate it every year. It’s all about chocolate – or is it love? I can’t remember. Anyway, they’re the same thing, aren’t they? Just another excuse for a calorie loaded holiday or maybe a candlelight dinner for two with your sweetie.
There was one Valentine’s Day, however, where the term “new” took on a completely different meaning. The best Valentine I was ever given came a few days after. I was twenty years old – too old to play with dolls and much too young to be a mother. But, nine days after cupid arrived, my first child came into the world. She was a delicate pink rosebud with skin as soft as the petals of a rose.
I was scared, clueless, and sick for nine months. My body rebelled at the idea of another life inside of me. I even had morning sickness the day she was born. The house was cold and drafty and there was no money for extravagances but, we were a family.
I was totally unprepared to be a parent but even more unprepared for the love I was about to receive. She was our world. Ah the dreams of a first-time mother. She was a tiny unwritten life just waiting to be molded. She was perfect. Life would be perfect.
Then reality set in quickly with projectile vomiting, disgusting diapers and late night feedings. I had no idea nursing could be so painful sometimes. And then she learned to smile and coo and the messy diapers were forgotten.
Love comes in many forms. The love you feel for your boyfriend who becomes your husband is different than the love you feel for your children or your parents. Love makes you put up with things from your children that you would never put up with from anyone else – not even their dad. Even nasty diapers could be tollerable – if the child was mine. Someone else’s child was another story.
Life goes along, messes are cleaned, and love evolves into something much deeper. Reality. When the second child – who is loved just as much – comes along it is treated differently than the first. You just don’t have the time to gaze at its tiny fingers and make plans for its new and perfect life. It has to fend for itself a little.
My second child came along four years later in the heat of summer. Now there would be two; a pink rose of spring, and a hot firecracker of summer. Both very different but no less loved. They are and always will be the two loves of my life.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your loves.