Welcome to the second month of the “Who I Am” project. This month the prompt is “Love,” and like my previous post, I wrote this as if I were speaking to Eve (and any other children I have in the future).
I have been fortunate in my life to know a lot of love and relatively little heartbreak. I grew up hearing the three words “I love you” over and over again in my home, where both those words and kisses and hugs abounded. Even when someone was mad, I never doubted that my parents, your Nana and Grandpa, loved me. It is why I make sure even when I’m frustrated or mad at you or just feeling sad, I always make sure I tell you “I love you.” It is why I’m constantly showering you with kisses and hugs, which thankfully at this point in your life you seem to appreciate and reciprocate.
Physical contact and those three words are my love language.
I’m very luck that in my life I have known so much love and very little heartbreak. There has never been a moment in my life where I have not felt that someone has loved me, though of course there have been many when I have doubted that anyone would love me in the way that your Papa and I love each other.
I am what some would call a late bloomer. I didn’t experience my first kiss until I was 17, something that I can joke about now but was absolutely mortifying back then. I dealt with many unrequited crushes, and while they were nowhere close to love, they still broke my heart a bit when they were unreciprocated. Although at this point in my life I genuinely believe your self-worth is in no way tied to whether or not you are in a relationship, as a teenager it made me self-conscious, sad, and like something with wrong with me. I have even had moments where I felt I was doomed to be “alone” for the rest of my life.
But eventually those feeling were reciprocated, and I discovered what it was like to fall in love, the summer after my freshman year of college. I also discovered two summers later the incredibly awful, steal-your-breath-away crushing feeling that comes with having your heart broken, and seeing how it also breaks the hearts a bit of those who love you.
While I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone — especially not you — I made it through, perhaps even a little bit stronger. All of those loves I have experienced- – both the amazing and the bad — have made me the mom, the wife, the friend, the sister, the daughter who I am today. I have learned that you can love more than the people in your family. You can deeply love your friends — who, by extension, can and do become your family. I have learned what it means to have your heart break a little when you see someone you love have their heart shattered into a million pieces, and how you can be there to help them to pick up the pieces and slowly start to mend them. I have seen what it means to drop everything and be there for someone you love because they need you.
I suppose, that is what love is, or at least part of it. A person who both because of and in spite of everything, will do everything in their power to be there for you when you need them most. At least, that has been my experience.
There are many things I hope to teach you in my lifetime, but perhaps one of the most important things I hope to instill in you is love, to both accept it and show it. To open yourself to it, welcome it in, and express it in whatever way works for YOU.
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The “Who I Am” project is a year-long monthly series that my friend Dana at Kiss My List started, as a way to create a virtual scrapbook of your life to tell your kids, grandkids, spouse, friends, or whoever who you are. You can link up our posts, which goes live the third Tuesday of the month, on either of our blogs, and sign up to receive the prompts at the beginning of each month via e-mail.