Love is scary.
As I child, I sought it constantly, devouring pages of romance novels, developing crush after crush, peering into the faces of strangers, taking any little scrap that was thrown at me.
At five, my first grandmother died. What I remember most of the funeral is my grandfather sitting in a chair, wailing and inconsolable.
My parents had it, but then lost it. Horrid fighting, bitterness, divorce replaced it. Sometimes, especially as I entered my preteen years, it seemed they lost it for me too. After a big, many weeks-long fight with my mom, I moved into my dad's house, and she was so angry at me that we passed on the street during a festival and she wouldn't even acknowledge me.
It was at this time, the summer between middle school and high school, that I finally realized one of the most powerful sources of love in my life- my grandmother, Rosemary. Frail after years of fighting cancer, she was still the most potent source of unconditional love I had. But it seemed that as soon as I finally "got it," she was gone. She was buried on the same day that my new half-sister was born, and I continue to mourn her 21 years later. And I mourn that I was so dense and absorbed in childhood to really appreciate her love while I had it here on earth.
I watched love continue to be found, to be swapped, to be squandered and abused, to be tossed about like currency, debated, to be created, to be lost.
I think a lot about if we "find love" or if we "make it." That answer, I believe, defines a lot about us.
Eighteen years ago, with a friend I've had since the 5th grade, I seemed to find the beginning of love. We played with the thought our senior year of high school, alternatively celebrating the wonder of it and then beating it like a pinata. We fought, and bickered, and kissed, and philosophized, and bucked the world, then started all over again. And in the 18 years since, we've been children and adults. We've grown and regressed. We've parted and come back together. We've fought for our love and almost destroyed it. We've celebrated our love, we've clung to it, we've thrown it away. We've questioned it, walked away from it, built it and been burnt by it. We've had to accept some truths, to settle, to be honest and to lie. To search and to be found.
And we're still doing those things.
The power of love is scary to me. It often seems that when I acknowledge it, when I stand in awe of it's immense presence, that it leaves. it changes. it morphs.
It's still worth it, the work of love. But it's scary.
And the most absolute terror is of my most sweeping, life-changing love with our son. He is the embodiment of our love, flesh and blood proof of our love. But so much more than that. And the swell of my love for him is overwhelming, breathtaking, and still stunning in it's magnitude. The thought of not having that love can reduce me to a quivering mess.
Love is scary. But then, so is the alternative.