What it means to love.
I, like everyone else, go through patches where things seems increasingly stressful. A thing that normally triggers this for me is a change in routine.
With Lesley’s new job change I am now in charge of day care drop off and pick up while she takes the bus to and from work. We used to do these things together and now, for many reasons, this does not make sense for us. While it is not a huge thing it means I need to get out of the house in the morning with a diaper bag, a food bag, my lunch, my pump bag, and a toddler. As an added bonus you have to lift the handle on our door to get it to latch meaning I need two hands to shut the door. This is a struggle.
Lesley leaves before me which means that I need to get Gus and I ready. Lesley makes breakfast and I take a shower but after breakfast she’s out and I am packing up and getting us dressed. I suck at these things. Bottles are ready 50% of the time and the diaper bag is packed 50% of the time. If both of those things are missed I am scrambling to get everything done while Gus touches every single thing he can find. I try to have stuff ready the night before but we have now entered hockey season and Lesley is gone three nights a week so sometimes it gets done, sometimes it does not.
As things (ahem, laundry) pile up, and toys get spread around the floor and I awkwardly hold my child as I try to balance all my stuff to get out the door I am feeling unappreciated. I feel like I am trying hard with no help and can’t get everything done. It’s dramatic of me – Lesley is helpful and some things don’t matter – but it is there.
So I have been thinking about the days where you don’t feel love. Where you know you love someone and are happy with them but it’s a day and you are running your errands and going to work and you’re annoyed and unhappy. It’s not a lifetime of this, it’s not a sign of disaster, it’s just a day where you are not surrounded by love.
When I was young I thought being in love meant that you feel this all encompassing thing all of the time. But that’s not real. To love someone is these small moments of sparks. It’s thinking of them at their new job and wishing you could be there, a fly on the wall, to be sure people are being nice to them. It’s buying them a new sweater when you ruined theirs in the laundry (again) and you feel bad. It’s pulling meat out of the freezer for dinner because you know they get hungry before you do. It’s these little things and some days are filled with them and some days they are a bit harder to find. And some days you need to dig them out because you are tired and overworked and need to come back to some sort of center.
I think having Gus has been a good reminder that love lives in these little moments – the smile on his face reminding me that it’s the little moments for him, too. That when he is playing or running around he’s not feeling all encompassing love but when I go get him at the end of the day his heart is warm with love for me. When I drop him off and he clings to my pants – even if an hour before he didn’t seem to care that I existed. These moments with him. These moments with Lesley. These moments all together. They keep me moving.