Love is a many splendored thing
What? What does that mean, exactly? Regardless, it's kind of hoaky. But love is kind of hoaky, and in the best possible way. love is so very many different things. And there seem to be so many kinds of love out there it's hard to explain just what love is.
I was thinking about these different kinds of love yesterday when I was out for a walk. I love my parents, my husband and my son all in very different ways, and in ways I couldn't really explain to each of them about the others.
When I think about my son, and about being a mother, that kind of love sets me on fire. It fills me with such a passion it's almost a rapture. At the same time, for some reason that love is the most satisfying of my loves.
I don't mean that my other loves aren't satisfying. Far to the contrary. But there is something about the love I have for my son. It contents me and puts me to rest. It makes me feel whole and like I've finally climbed to the top of the mountain--you know, where the guru sits and tells you the meaning of life once you reach him?
It's kind of like that.
A colleague of mine was recently thinking about the same thing. When she was younger she was trying to explain the different kinds of love to her daughters, who are now both grown. She had a revelation of her own as she was discussing love with them, which was this: most love you bring to you; you wrap your arms around it (or the person) and make it yours. The love of a mother to a child is actually giving that child the ability to make his or her way in the world without you. That love is letting them go.
You know that saying "if you love something set it free; if it's really yours it will come back to you?" I think she was sort of talking about that. But I get what she is saying as a mother, too. You carry these precious babies inside you, you bring them into the world, you hold them and love them and teach them everything you know. Then, one day, they're their own people outside of your world. And you have to let them go do their thing. You have to let them be.
That's a totally different kind of love than you have for, say your husband. Mine is at my side, where he wants to be and where I want him to be, too. As my colleague put it, that kind of love is sort of about doing everything together.
Then there's the love I have for my parents. It's mixed with respect and awe and, at times, a little embarrassment as they turn into my grandparents and I turn into them! I don't love them for bringing me into this world, but I love them for taking care of me, and for always being there for me no matter what.
That same sentiment holds true for my own child. In a way, that love is cyclical--from my parents to me and from me to my children.
I'm not so sure what I'm trying to say here, but these are thoughts I've been ruminating on. Having a baby has given me pause over things I thought I had figured out long ago. Now that I can see things from another perspective, especially love, maybe I can understand what makes it such a many splendored thing.