Ahh, young love. Always picture-perfect in the movies, but not necessarily so in real life. Young love is not always indicative of a long, successful marriage, although, we have managed to accumulate 11 years under our belt, so far. We married young, my husband was only 24 years old, myself having only recently turned 22. It always seems to disappoint people to learn that no, we were not in fact, high school sweethearts, or life-long friends turned lovers that had magically fallen in love.
Our courtship did not necessarily look like a fairy-tale to outsiders but it felt like one to us. It was modern and fast-paced, and to us living it, it was like something out of a book. We were engaged after dating for only a year and a half, and married 7 short months later. To most, that seemed fast, but seeing as how we had spent every waking moment together since we met, moving in together after only knowing each other a mere 4 months, it did not feel “rushed” or “too soon” to us. It is like they say, “when you know, you just know”.
Now, that’s not to say our relationship is flawless and our marriage is perfect, quite the contrary. We have had our own set of challenges, both emotionally and physically, along the way, including illness, infertility, anxiety and depression, and don’t be fooled into thinking we do not fight because we are both beyond stubborn and can argue for hours, should the mood strike. That said, “they” were right; when you know, you just know. I knew after two weeks of dating my husband that he was the one I was meant to be with forever.
After two short weeks of knowing him, I already knew I was going to one day be his wife. He is the ying to my yang, the peanut butter to my jelly. I can easily, honestly say that I have never loved another person the way I love my husband, and I have never before known that someone else loves and cares for me the way he does. It is a pretty profound feeling. So profound, in fact, that whenever I would hear someone talk about the love you will feel for your children will pale in comparison to your love for spouse, I would think to myself, “yeah right, not a chance”.
Then I had a child of my own, a beautiful baby boy, with the man I love so profoundly, and you know what, “they” were right…again. Does that mean I love my husband, the man I instantly knew I had spent my entire life waiting to marry and dreamed of growing old with, any less? No, of course not. Was this new love I felt for our precious newborn son stronger than any feeling I had ever experienced before? Abso-freakin-lutley. The minute he was pulled from my midsection, during the emergency C-section, and I heard his first soft cry, I was instantly and completely in love.
When they handed him to my husband and he carefully raised him up to my face, as I laid strapped down to the operating table, I was hooked the minute I laid my eyes on him. It was like the biggest, deepest, most outrageous crush I’d ever had on a boy, multiplied by a million. I instantly soaked in his big eyes and cute, round little nose, memorizing his features, so I could dream about him later on. In that instant, my heart seemed to burst, doubling in size, filling to the brim and overflowing with a new love and affection for this tiny, sweet, little stranger whom I felt like I had known my entire life.
Did this newfound, limitless love diminish my feelings for my husband? Did I suddenly love my husband less and my son more? No, of course not. In fact, watching my husband rock, cuddle and tend to our son, forming a special bond of their own, those first few days, and even now to this day, makes me love him even more.
Watching him dote on him while I lay sore and useless from the hospital bed, unable to even stand up, walk across the room and hold my beautiful little boy, made my heart melt as he cooed and whispered sweetly to him, taking care to change his diaper exactly as the nurse had shown him. And in the middle of the night when he would wake crying out in hunger, to see my husband crawl off the paper-thin cot he was camped out on beside my hospital bed and shuffle over to get a bottle for our son, I felt grateful and lucky to have such an attentive and caring person to raise a child with. So, did my great love for my husband change? Nope. Did I love my son more? No, not at all because how could I? My husband gave me my son, a gift like none other.
But, yes, the love I now have for my son is not at all like how I feel about my husband. I guess “they” were right; that part was true. The love I feel for my son is an all-encompassing, swallow-you-whole, squeeze-you-until-you-burst love that is instinctive, powerful, terrifying and raw all at once. It is the kind of love that makes you feel invincible, capable of protecting your new object of affection at all costs, awakening a strength inside you strong enough to lift a car over your head in one moment, and yet causing you to feel weak and fragile, crumbling into a weepy mess in the next.
So, a better love? NO. A different kind of love? YES. Lucky for me, I get to experience both of them <3!