What is Love? Is it something you catch, like a cold or the flu? Is it something you fall into, like a soft warm bed? Is it something to fall out of, like a speeding train? I’m just not sure. I find that feelings and emotions are something alien to me. I figure it is just because I grew up in an uncaring household as a kid. I really didn’t understand those sitcoms on TV where all the kids and the parents got along and hugged and kissed. These things I find strange. I never had a mom who would kiss my boo boos better, she would yell at me for falling down. “It’s your fault for being clumsy!” she would say. My mom and dad also never hugged or kissed. I can’t say that I loved my parents. I know that I was supposed to, I know that I had to, but I’m not sure I did. I wasn’t sure what love was. I never had any strong feelings for my parents. My dad was never home when I was a kid and when he was, he was sleeping. I can’t blame him really, he never finished High School, he did the best he could to support his family. I don’t think he could relate to me. I was always a smart kid, reading books far ahead of my grade level. I am pretty sure that I intimidated him on some level, especially when I could read better than he could in the third grade. My mom was a whole other matter. She and I never saw eye to eye and there was never any warm and fuzzy feelings between us. To this day, I feel strange just talking to her, and I actually look down on her for her mannerisms. I think I honestly don’t like her. How is that not to like your own mother. She would always treat my brother and sister the way the sitcom moms would their children but I seemed to be an alien beast to her. I would get blamed if one of them did something wrong. I came away from that relationship feeling little or nothing inside for my mom. So I never really knew what parental love was, at least not like all my friends.
It was weird for me when I started dating my wife to be. I knew that boyfriends and girlfriends were supposed to hold hands and kiss, but the only examples I had to go by were the ones I saw in movies and such. I knew that I had feelings for my future wife. I felt for her very differently than I had felt for anyone, but I really never had anything to compare it to. Was what I felt love? I know that the longer I stayed with her the more I cared for her. I was more concerned with her health than my own. I know that I always sought her approval, in everything that I did. I was hurt when I didn’t get it or when I did something that hurt her. I think that I grew to love her over time but there was still doubt as I had never known what Love was before.
It was even harder for me once I had kids. My son was an absolute joy for me when he was born. I loved him to death, at least I thought that what I felt was love. He made me smile when he smiled, I got all warm inside when he giggled or cooed. Is that love? As he grew, and became a young man, I started to feel for him what I felt for my wife. I was overjoyed when he succeeded, I cried for him when he failed, and I tried to be everything for him that my parents weren’t for me. Then my daughter joined our family. This was hard for me because I didn’t really want a second child. My thinking was that our family was perfect and I didn’t need another child to make it complete. My wife wasn’t as sure as I and pushed to have a second child. She really wanted a girl, and I eventually gave in, even though I resented her for it, but that is for another discussion. I wasn’t sure that I wanted the new child all the way through the pregnancy. Once she was here though, things changed, I felt the same about her as I did about my son. Maybe more so. When she smiled at me the first time my heart melted. When she giggles I feel nothing but joy, like music is playing in my heart. I can say now that I love her. I love her. It took me a while to realize it, but I KNOW that I love her.
Once I felt that love, the third time in my life, it all fell into place. I had done things in my life that tried to sabotage the love I had. I believe that I did it because it was an alien feeling. Something that I didn’t understand. I now know what love is. It is something that doesn’t ask of you. It is something that just gives, and in giving, gets in return. It is circular, giving love freely allows you to receive love fully into your heart. I unfortunately took far to long to learn that lesson and I want to make sure that my kids know that they are loved completely. I understand what it means to love, even if it is still a little alien to me. I know what it is to feel love. It is what makes you warm inside. It is knowing that you are excepted even if you don’t feel that way inside. I guess the best way to put it is that love is just that, it is love. You can’t quantify it, you can’t measure it, and it is different than any other emotion that I have ever felt. It is everything, it is nothing, it is love.