Sunday, February 14, 2010

Several generations of love

Years ago, I decided that love wasn't a singular emotion, but a heightened state of all emotions. The person you love can hurt you more deeply, but can create a healing no one else can. That definition preceded parenting, which made me realize that deep fear, deep frustration, and deep exhaustion are also part of the Love Category.

The more deeply you love, the more deeply you feel all the Stuff.

Right now, though, I'm at an immersion Russian camp with my family, sitting on a big fluffy pillow of love...and it's all feeling pretty amazing.

My dad is showing us the epitome of how to love your family. He flew from Saint Paul to Norfolk in order to drive 3 days BACK to Saint Paul. Steve couldn't drive with me (had to fly in late Friday night to join us)....for millions of reasons it was *not* a good idea to fly with all three kids...and with the February midwest weather, none of us thought my driving solo made sense. Terrible fog through the mountains, several snowstorms, rain and other obstacles and I wondered only 7 hours into the trip how this could have been possible without my dad. Who would have done the every 5 minute trip to the back for something the kids needed, for one?

And then we arrived at the Russian camp, and Simone and Andrew weren't loving it. My dad was going to be the one-on-one liaison for Simone...which meant basically carrying her around the entire weekend. Andrew just wanted to play with toys and run free...a bit too wee for the camp programming. We could have made it work, but with decreased joy on all sides.

So my dad offered to take them back to his house, 30 minutes away, so Jack, Steve and I could stay at the camp. Anyone who has cared for a barely-3 and an 18-month-old in tandem knows...well...this is about the most amazing thing a grandparent could do.

I have love in my life in so many ways, I don't know where to begin with my gratitude. Amazing, life-changing love.

And I am now at the camp with my love of 12 years, learning Russian for our son. FOR our son. This part keeps popping back up in my brain. It feels like I'm doing it for me, I'm so excited about it. And I look over at Steve during class, and he has the same glow. We're so happy to be here. But it's the love pouring out of me for Jack that makes me ecstatic to be cracking the code on the language. Yes, I love learning things and it's fascinating to watch it all come together. But we are here because this sweet little boy came into our life and stumbled across Russian...and Steve and I want to be a part of that.

Snuggling Jack in for bed last night, I was telling him some things I'd learned in my class. I told him "I love you" and then asked how to say son. "I don't remember son right now, but you can call me your little boy." And taught me how to say "I love you, little boy." Then all of these other words came pouring out of him. It was like I'd finally been able to crack open the door a bit to this secret little hallway of himself.

He'll have all sorts of little hallways, and many I won't be able to look down. And I don't even want that...life is going to create an independent life for him that doesn't always run parallel to mine. But getting to connect with him in certain elements, like this one, means a lot to me.

Love is feeling really good right now.

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