I've been in love before ... I know it when it hits. That strange connection between two people w/neither knowing exactly WHY.
As an adoptee I was very connected to my adoptive father in a way that had nothing to do with genetics and everything to do with love. He loved me, I knew it, and I responded in kind. It didn't hurt that he also "got" me: quirky, dorky, too quiet, too passionate me. And I got him: quirky, dorky, too quiet, too independent him. And for me, that was more than enough.
Yes, I fell in love with several young men along the way to the one I was married to for 20 years and w/whom I share four sons. Now THAT'S love. Sadly, the husband not so much but the sons? Amazing. I remember when my first was born my mother flew halfway across the country to help me adjust to motherhood. It was one of those moments that stands frozen in time. I had brought the baby with me into the teeny tiny married student housing bathroom just in case something cataclysmic happened on the other side of the door. I heard her enter the apartment and stride across the floor. And then I heard it, her hand on the door handle. Um. Privacy anyone? She opened the door, reached in, and took my son.
After pulling myself together (somewhat roughly two days postpartum) I found her sitting on my bed with him in her arms and tears in her eyes. I surprised her (turn about is fair play) and she quickly brushed her eyes, cleared her throat and announced, "Ruth Ellen, this is SOOOO much better than being a parent!" Thanks, mom.
Yesterday I got home from visiting The Drummer and The Designer in LA, land of all things Oscar. But, most importantly, I met my grandson for the first time. All six weeks of Mr. My Baby ... mind blown. Sure, Hollywood was amazing and yes, I am a wee bit jealous that it's snowing in MI when people are surfing in CA. I'm a little bit envious that The Designer's mother is a mere two hours away and breezes through the door like she owns the joint. True ... in DYT world she's a T1 and breeze is in her veins. I'm a T4 and my passion is red hot quiet (unless it involves injustice.) I don't do breezy. I do quiet.
He who shall not be named has soooo many nicknames ... signs of certain love. Nug. Nugget. Monkey. Mr. My Baby. Little Dude. Bunny. I called him all the names a Bubbe/Safta might call her wee one: darling, sweetheart, sweet pea, best boy, bunny boy, and Mr. My Baby (a glorious name stolen from his mother.) I acted in manners unbefitting an INFJ. I cooed, I bubbled, I ssssshed, I sang, I danced/bounced/swayed/ and made goo goo eyes at the greatest love of my life since his uncles and father. My NEW greatest love of my life. My second generation Baby Bunny (the Engineer is my Baby Bunny.) Of course Mr. My Baby's Uncle Lawyer and Aunt School Psychologist are working on his cousin who will arrive from Ethiopia in the perfect time. Then, just as my heart grew larger after the Lawyer was born to accommodate the Drummer, The Entrepreneur, and The Engineer; the same will happen with a new generation. Perhaps, as was in my adoptive family, a younger cousin will be the oldest in the "family." Perhaps my second grandchild will be older than my first and only the adults will be aware of that brief time between the 1st and the 2nd, who became the oldest. The cousins will never know ... in the same way the Entrepreneur doesn't remember life on this planet without the Engineer at his side. The only times my younger cousin EVER reminded me she was "here first" was when she wanted something that an oldest should get. This also worked to her advantage when she DIDN'T want to do something and thought "the oldest" should have to blaze the trail. Then I got to be the oldest.
My heart knows anew what it did in 1980. Neither Lyme, nor ME, nor dark of night can stop parental or Safta love ... nor will it prevent love from flowing in the other direction. In the four short days I was there Mr. My Baby's eyes came into focus and his gaze followed his father's voice and was riveted on his mother's. And when I held him he focused on me. Something my own Mr. My Babies did decades ago ... melting my heart in such a way that I never recovered. Nor do I want to.
OH, THANK YOU, my imperfect yet PERFECT drummer. BLESS YOU, my Designer. Is being a Safta better than parenting? No. It's not. But it's that extra layer of love. That extra blanket of family one dreams about yet never expects.