I’ve talked a lot about love on this blog. And my daughter. And what love is while I’m trying to love my daughter. I’ve said before that I didn’t think that I loved my daughter. I still cringe every time I say that. If that’s a feeling that you have I recommend being careful where you say it. For instance, most women in your “Mommy, Mozart & Me” class are not going to want to sit by you if you tell them. Clearly a semi-anonymous blog is the much better choice. Here’s the thing. I was wrong. Being wrong happens to the best of us…and to me.
I’ve even said that I was wrong before. In one of my more cleverly titled blog posts, “Caw caw squawk silence” I ate my crow (seriously, I still that is funny two years later) and admitted that I loved her,
“more of a "bite the bullet" love than any kind of love that is likely to be mass produced and stamped onto wrapping paper. It's nitty-gritty love, survival love, drag you to therapy love, stage an intervention love, tough love, make a fool out of myself love, do it anyway love, hold you while you cry love, cry myself to sleep for you love love, look past your crap love, bang my head into a wall love, not bang your head into a wall love, refuse to quit love, refuse to let you quit love, force the truth love, reject the lies love, hold your pain love, change myself for you love.”And honestly, today has been a day that I’m counting it as love that I haven’t banged any heads into a wall. Naptime may never be over today. But I said something wrong in that post,
“yes, I love her and yes, I love my boys, and no, it's not the same, and yes, that's okay.”That’s the wrong part, where I say it’s not the same as I love my boys. The way I feel for my boys is nice and easy and satisfying. I’d venture that maybe there’s a little bit of too much pride in there for something that’s more luck than anything else like buying Park Place and then Boardwalk both on your first trip around the Monopoly board. But the way that I feel is not a measure of love, just of how much fluff we have on top of the love.
In typical spoiled American-privileged way I identified that easiness and happiness as love. It’s nothing but the surface of love. It’s like looking at gold-filigreed wallpaper and thinking that’s what holding up your house.
Loving Boohoo is work, the hardest work I’ve ever done. We are not ready to put up wallpaper. Frankly, three years in and I think we’re barely starting to hang drywall. We are still framing this (what I’m hoping will be the most awesome ever) house of love. And I’ve never had to build love quite like this so sometimes I put the wall up in the wrong place and then we’re all running into and finding out that if I leave that wall there that later on we’re never going to be able to add plumbing (I have never actually built a house, don’t look too closely at this metaphor) and I so I stomp around and she has a tantrum and we snipe at each other and then take that wall down and fix the problem. It’s not easy. It’s not pretty. It is love. And it’s not some second-rate love that I have for “someone else’s child who is so lucky” adoption jargon boys.
The only difference between my love for Boohoo and my love for my sons is that the love I have for them has had the blessing of being largely untested. It’s been years of happy fluffy blubbery easy love. But if something happened and that decorative easy to feel fluffy love was gone *I* wouldn’t be gone and my actual love wouldn’t be gone. The love I have for them has the same steely-fierce-never-quit strength behind it. I just don’t have to think about it very often/ever (knock on wood). We have years of Fluffy Love and the accompanying Fluffy Feelings to protect me from the terror, pain, tears, and God-given stubbornness that come with the hard work of building love from the ground up.
Real Love: Never Quits, Super Painful, Totally Underrated, Indispensible to Healthy Relationships, Produces convoluted feelings of terror and hope
Fluffy Love: Only Culturally Acknowledged Form of Love, Promoted by Unicorns, Hallmark, and Made for TV movies, Sneaky because it tries to convince you it is Real, Easy, Likes to Frolic, Produces Fluffy Feelings,Truly Nice to Have Around but Not Actually Vital
Real Love::Fluffy Love
Boohoo and I continue to build/have the good stuff we just don’t have the fluffy stuff.