Monday, July 20, 2009

At First Sight...

When we talk about love at first sight, we are usually talking about romantic love. We are talking about the stolen glances across a room, the chance encounter in a classroom or on a train or during a party. We love to tell people, and ourselves, that we were always sure, always in love. I’m not sure if love at first sight exists in the way we all hope it does. I can certainly remember seeing my wife for the first time. But I know that I love her infinitely more now than I did at that moment. I know that our love has grown and continues to multiply every day that we spend with each other. There must have been love there when we first met, but I certainly wasn’t transported immediately to where I am today after one glance.

With a child, however, it is different. There is no getting to know you, no testing the waters, no easing in. You jump into it with both feet. And it shocks the breath out of you at times. I don’t think most people experience a flood of that much emotion at one time. We normally sip it, we are used to drops and tastes – when a child is born you take a huge gulp.

This past weekend I was away with one of my brothers and a friend. We drove to Toronto to see a Red Sox game and drink beer and stay up late. Since we were outside the States, most of us kept our phones off for larges stretches – since our cell phone companies would charge us half a year of college tuition to make or receive a phone call. I had traveled away from my daughter before, but this time I was going to be almost completely disconnected for close to three days.

Last week, I was looking forward to the trip. Three days with no diapers, no screams, no reason to get up at 5:00 AM and no reason to go to sleep at 10:00 PM. I could have more than one beer, I was going to be able to watch two baseball games completely uninterrupted. I would spend three days without once uttering a word of baby talk. And all of those things made for a great trip.

Still, I couldn't wait to get home. I had forgotten was that my daughter and I are on a kind of honeymoon right now. I can’t get enough of being around her. I don't think any parent really knows that the connection you feel with a child is so similar to other kinds of love. Sure, I love it when she takes a nap and lets me get some work done. If she sleeps late, I’m not complaining. But she is almost always right there. Today, just a few hours after getting back from Canada, I am spending the day with her. We played and she cried and I changed diapers and she ate and I talked in baby talk. And she looked at me with her big blue eyes and smiled. When she was born, I fell off a cliff. I didn’t take the leisurely route to this. It was love at first sight. I wonder if she felt the same way?

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