To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
-CS Lewis, The Four Loves
This week I burst into tears after a frantic google search reminded me that Inez was born with a Mongolian spot on her back, that she did not actually have a mysterious, massive bruise on her behind and need platelet levels checked. (The midwife had talked to me about the spot after she was born, I realized once I found the wikipedia page. She told me it is common with Hispanic babies and might appear to be bruising, and I had nodded and said ok, and promptly moved it to an inaccessible part of my brain.)
One thing I noticed—I didn’t cry when I thought something was wrong, when I was internally panicking a bit, but I only cried once the relief came flooding in and I could breathe, once I realized how tense my shoulders had been as I typed and tried to talk myself down from the worst case scenario.
It reminded me of a quote that I’d heard about having children: “It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” That resonates big time with me. I know I’ll only continue to learn that loving my babies is all about letting them go.
On the other hand, sometimes it seems that loving my spouse is the opposite—not letting go but leaning in. Cheryl Sandberg, write a book about that! Loving him is not so natural as loving the babies who were literally part of me and who carry my traits. The girls could never be rid of me. The thing is, they also carry traits of the one I chose. He’s the one who is not bound by blood but by decision. Israel, let’s decide to love each other each day. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Pre-marital counseling and all the baby books exhorted us to keep our relationship as the priority for a healthy family, rather than focusing only on the kids. I’d love to hear your experience and wisdom on this! Please share, and please know I’m grateful for you, very dear readers, this Valentine’s Day. Mil besos.