Thoughts flitter and flit their way through the transom of my sleepy mind.
When I told people with kids that Erin and I were having a child of our own, they were universally ecstatic. Part of me always thought that behind their broad smile and hearty congratulations they must have been thinking, “Whew. What a relief that I’m not the only idiot. This poor sap’s joining the club too.” Whatever their motives, I no longer have that same half-joking cynical view on their comments. And I think I might know what they were getting at.
Because along with the kudos, parents told me that when I had kids my life would change. What I long assumed they meant was that time would becomes more fluid, with days and nights flowing one into the next. I expected that I would be sleep deprived (and boy howdy am I). I anticipated climbing an initially steep learning curve as I was initiated into the world of boppies, kick-and-plays, and poopy diapers. When parents talked about life changing, this is what I thought they meant, and certainly I wasn’t wrong. Erin and I are presently living an existence that’s only slightly less weird than Jonah, and he just came out of the womb six days ago. One the day-to-day practical level, a lot of things are upside down.
What blind-sided me, though, was love’s shifting boundary. Prior to Jonah’s arrival I would have told you that I could not love Erin any more than I do. Now that Jonah is here, one of my discoveries is that I was wrong. Love is mysterious, and it is difficult to convey the depth of any emotion, but what I feel now for Erin is a love much deeper than I knew existed. It’s as if I’ve undergone a (re)birth of my own, moving into a heretofore unimaginable realm. “Awestruck” continues to be a reasonable description of my state of mind.
It’s dawned on me, of course, that if I could be so surprised and overwhelmed by love now, after almost nine years of marriage, that perhaps even this just one stage on the way to even greater intensity of feeling. It’s hard to imagine that I could feel a magnitude of love greater than I do at present, but I would’ve said the same before, so all bets are off. In fact, if it’s true that God is Love (and that’s about as accurately as human language allows us to communicate divinity’s nature), then what would surprise me least is to find in the end that there are no boundaries to love whatsoever.
And what of Jonah himself? A person could reasonably wonder if there are an pangs of jealousy as my time or, even more so, Erin’s time is taken up by Jonah’s needs. So far the answer is “not even close.” It is so perfectly beautiful to watch her care for Jonah, and I find our little monkey so cute and wonderful that, again, love simply expands to envelope him. While it’s not like I ever saw love as something hidden in a box to be carefully parcelled out lest I deplete my supply, it is now more obvious than ever that love is a thing of potentially infinite availability. My life, as they said it would, has changed.