No one can tell you what life and love are like. There are so many things that are simply notions of our minds until we experience them ourselves. I suppose it’s the limits of empathy, we can never completely put ourselves in someone else’s place, because at some point our imaginations are limited to what they know.
I’ve learned this about knowing grief. There are profound experiences I understand via pain that have taught me more than I care to know. But my capacity for empathy has expanded and thus my capacity to love has as well.
The same is true of knowing love. Today is Valentines Day. Trever and I don’t make a thing of it, we usually celebrate later in the week when the crowds have dissipated and so have the prices.
But 13 years ago was our first Valentines Day and our first real date, I was 16 and he picked me up at my dad’s house in Anaheim Hills wearing a suit that was likely two sizes too big. I was wearing a choker necklace representative of the circle of life, or the circle of fashion, as it were. We had been together for close to a year at that point but because of my age, or more likely because of his (20), we had to wait to officially date. But finally on February 14th, 2004 he took me to the ballet and after we drove to the beach blaring Deathcab.
I look back at us and what we were, and as beautiful as it was I’m amazed at the distance we’ve come, amazed at the life we’ve lived. Somewhere along the way we learned to love, which has a lot to do with choosing. But I think more than that we became capable of love as we knew it from each other, it seems that I had to be loved to be able to love in return.
And then to motherhood. I’ve watched so many of my friends melt into puddles when they became mothers and I could not seem to attain a sense of comprehension for what looked like a loss of self from my view. And yet now there is a scary love growing within me, a love for one who never could have loved me first. Tiny arms and legs keep kicking me all day and every time it happens I am nothing but a mother.
I can only assume there are unknowable depths of love as we live life. I find it interesting that this one word holds so much. Something that swirls itself in and through our beings and lives and attaches us to those around us. As it intertwines itself and unites us to others our beings become less and less singular and more and more a piece of connection, and ultimately the connection itself is what we’re made of.
My dad wrote me a letter today. He outlined bits of my life and like a poem ended each stanza with, “and then I loved you more.” I sobbed. I’ve always known he loved me and yet only now do I know that I never ever came close to really knowing his love. I’ve expanded a bit and can now begin to grasp a little more of what I thought I always knew.
I hope this is true of the divine, that we are incapable of understanding the depths of love One has for us. As we grow in love through friendship, family and marriage, I can only assume that by the slow growth of love over time can we come close to comprehension and even then fall extraordinarily short.
Happy Valentines Day.