Love, that Thing That We Talk About

It’s been a long time since I visited the “do you love her yet” question.

I’ve loved very few people on sight. Most of my friends turned out to be better after you got to know them some (which, in some cases, means I didn’t like them at all until later, when I did). I didn’t fall in love with Rob when we first met. In fact, it wasn’t until about 2 years later that I looked at him, strewn across a low chair in the 60’s mod lounge of our law school, one of a group of people planning how best to get as drunk as possible during this, our final year before “real life” (which actually turned out to be a totally inaccurate description of working as a young associate at a law firm, but I digress, again) and–I just realized I’m still in the middle of this sentence–I looked at him, and realized, whoa, that’s it. Him.

It was unfortunate that I’d just broken up with his roommate at the time, but otherwise, it worked out pretty well, as have all of those friendships. I’d even go so far as to say that people I did like instantly mostly did not work out so well. I’m lazy, and I fall easily for the kind of charm which results in 300 Facebook friends and hey, sorry, no time to talk. So, so sum up: love which develops slowly has been the best kind. I wouldn’t say I loved my original three kids at the moment they were yanked, ripped or (in one happy case) squirted out of my body, either. I mean, given that description, you can see why not.

So I should have KNOWN that I wouldn’t love Rory right off. No one would read the above an accuse me of not really loving my husband, or of letting my deep resentment for what having three kids did to my innards and outards interfere permanently with my affection for Sam, Lily or Wyatt. But in adoption-blog-land–oh, adoption-blog-land, the many and myriad ways you’ve messed up my head–instant love is the default. It’s the way to go. “We just met our Tippi, and she’s doing great!” “We just couldn’t love her more, and it’s only been thirty minutes!” “We’re just dripping with love for this snugglebug!”

So I felt just a tad insecurish about the whole this kid has to pee all the time and she’s constantly screaming and she hits the other kids and when-is-she-going-home thing.

I think it comes down to how you use the word love. I was kind of going with the “would you leap in front of a speeding train to push this person out of its path” definition, and I kept coming up short. Well, no, I kept thinking. I love life, and trains are messy, and I really want to stick around with all these other people. I over-thought it constantly. It couldn’t just be love, it had to be these Sophie’s choice style scenarios. Nothing else would do.

But I have yet to be called upon to jump in front of a train for anyone I love. What’s harder, I find, is the kind of love that allows you to push a train–a small wooden one, say–around the tracks for half-an-hour when you would much rather be doing anything else. I didn’t have much of that kind of love this summer, either. But here’s what I can do. I can help Rory get dressed, at 6:55 in the morning, even though she can dress herself, and I have not yet had coffee. And I can do it without being sarcastic or unpleasant about it, and even manage a kiss or two most mornings.

I am not a morning person. It has taken me years to get to the point where I can handle human interaction before 11 a.m. And this–this is unnecessary, frivolous interaction of a kind that doesn’t get anyone out the door any faster. Plus, as I said, it’s pre-coffee. But I can do it. Have, for months. I don’t know what love is. For now, this is going to have to do.

6 Responses to “Love, that Thing That We Talk About”

  1. Lisen says:

    Helping, especially pleasantly, in the morning before coffee is totally love! I am SO not there with the newest family member yet. I cannot even go in that bedroom in the morning. If she comes into mine…I fake sleep. Not the kind of fake-it everyone talks about in adoption land.

    You are getting there and I hope I can follow you there someday!

  2. Wuxi Mommy says:

    So glad to read this post this morning. It was just what I needed. I think I expected to instantly fall in love, just as so many adoptive parents do. And, when I realized it was gonna take a long while, I was scared. I wanted to be “normal”, whatever that was:) Not being a morning person, either, I define success by getting everyone up and ready without losing my sanity. You’re right….that, indeed, is love.

  3. Kelly morant says:

    I think you are probably more normal than most! You’re way more honest for a start. I think for some adopters and I’m just guessing, that they are in love with the idea of their child. And there is nothing wrong with that. If we adopt, I know that’s how I would feel. Maybe the reality of the child takes a while to love!

  4. shirlee says:

    How funny that we are both blogging about love!

  5. i think WAY to many people in suffer in silence. seriously. i know there are some families that adopt a 3 year old or older and have instantaneous die-for you love and bond. but i think fewer do.

    i’m sooooooo much further down the road than even a few months ago. i even miss her when she is gone. and even though i’m further along i am i still am not nice in the mornings. for that you deserve a medal:)

  6. Nicole says:

    Just love your blog! And this post! Cause I could have wrote a similar one for our new daughter!