Friday, 6 June 2014

Love is?

     Love is the sweetest thing
     What else on earth could ever bring
     Such happiness to everything
     As love’s old story?

     It’s The Girl’s sixth birthday today. So I’ve been indulging in some serious memory wallowing.

     There she is, two hours old. If you’re wondering why I’m obviously naked and she’s wrapped in several blankets and towels, it’s because UNPLANNED HOME BIRTH. She was delivered by paramedics on the bathroom floor. And if that wasn’t enough drama, the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck, twice, her body blue, floppy, and unresponsive. I cried out, as one of the paramedics said ‘Bollocks. PAED RESUSC KIT.’ And began tugging and heaving at the cord, loosening it, then holding a tiny oxygen tube under her nose as he urged ‘Breathe, c’mon, breathe.’ Those few brief moments felt like a lifetime. Had the paramedics not arrived two minutes earlier, those few brief moments would have been The Girl’s lifetime. 

     But her face flickered, she took her first breath, and they handed her to me.

     Love. Pure, unadulterated, overwhelming love. I didn’t even notice it arriving. One moment it wasn’t. The next, it was.  Brimful of adoration, sublimeness of feeling, the connection. My daughter. Exactly the same way it had happened with The Boy, three years earlier. Love isn’t enough of a word to describe it. It would be unthinkable for me to feel any differently about her. And it doesn’t matter to me that The Blondies are poles apart in personality. I don’t love one more than the other. I just love them. Simply. Equally. Unequivocally.

     I’ve mentioned my brother before. I have cut him out of my life, for too many long, expensive and legal reasons. But when the Girl was around six months old, I was sitting with her, my brother, and a few other parents at a child’s birthday party. One of the other parents had a newborn with her, and conversation naturally turned to how she was coping with two children. At which point, my brother said ‘I could never have another child. I really don’t want to. Y’know, I remember when my sisters came along, how it really upset me, like I wasn’t loved, y’know? And I look at my son, and think I just couldn’t love another child. He’s My Boy, y’know? I don’t think it’s fair on the first child to have siblings. Basically, you’re halving your love, aren’t you?’

     There was a slightly awkward pause, which The Girl broke by farting triumphantly, everyone laughed, I made a big fuss of getting up to change her nappy, and conversation resumed on some other innocuous topic like ‘Do you take it up the arse?’ or something.

     But I was livid. Still am, if I’m honest (probably because it was my brother who said it. Any excuse to pile more loathing up). As though love is a finite resource. You’re given your allotted share, and that’s it.  Once you’ve doled it out in life, no more. You can chose where you spend it, but you loves your loves, you take your chances. Waste it on a bad love affair? Sorry squire, we’re all out. Seal your heart up. Love doesn’t live here anymore. We’re not at home to love. Currently experiencing a severe case of love fatigue, therefore any subsequent children will receive watered down gruel love. Diet Love, now with fewer attachments.

     What kind of unutterably stupid bollocks is that? Seriously? Did he not ever stop to consider that before his son was born, he didn’t love him? That it was only at birth that the love he was so precious of, that he wanted to hoard away like a vicious old miser was created by his child? And if it happened once, then surely it would be likely to happen again? Although, it doesn’t even happen, it just IS. It’s there. Intangible, but there is nothing in my life I am more certain of.

     Love empowers and enriches, it doesn’t drain away. It’s self-fulfilling and self-sustaining (I’m not talking about the state of being in love, by the way. That’s a whole other can of worms barrel of eels we can tackle another time). I think I tell The Blondies that I love them at least twenty times a day, and they respond in kind. Why wouldn’t I? How couldn’t I?

     I love and I am loved in return. Is there a finer knowledge to possess? And to sign off with a mawkish, tacky, and naff load of sentimental tosh*, I shall quote The Beatles:

     And in the end,
     The love you take
     Is equal to
     The love you make

Bonus point to anyone who spotted the very, very faint reply in the penultimate photo. 'Unconditional'

*Bugger off. It’s my daughter’s birthday. I can be as drippy as I like.


Lottie Lomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lottie Lomas said...

Lovely post, despite seeing you naked :-) The birth of your daughter must have been scary (to say the least). My eldest was blue and floppy too - I remember them shouting out his APGAR(?) score, which was going down, not up, and thinking - am I watching a film?

Anyhoo, wonderful to read a fabulous post about love. xx

Lucy Benedict said...

Lottie, if it traumatised you, imagine how the paramedics felt. They ambled in to find me, naked, swearing LOUDLY and shouting 'SHE'S FUCKING CROWNING!' ;-)

(And thank you. I love you. But not in that way. Well, maybe a bit).