Love is a funny kind of thing. I fill my days either apologising to my daughter for my latest misdeeds or telling her how much I love her. Her father does the same and I imagine that we’re pretty similar to new parents all over the world.
Sometimes she cries in her sleep, just one wail or sign of unhappiness and then drifts off again. The first few times she did it I felt terrible that I had introduced crying into my baby’s life where there was none before. I now see it as crying being unavoidable and at least I’m there to comfort her when she’s upset.
I feel that my love is also mixed up with worry about doing the right things, feeding her when she’s hungry, teaching her the right skills, sending her to the right schools, protecting her when she’s out of the house when I can’t be around.
I may be getting a little ahead of myself. Yesterday I was stressing that she’s already seven weeks old and I haven’t yet taught her any Greek or helped her learn any Spanish or French. Or we haven’t been swimming yet so how are we going to be the next Ironman champion? I remind myself that we’re only just getting a routine together and I should be happy that our 2.30 to 5pm naps are so far progressing well. (We’ve had two.)
I remember being so in love, a little while ago, and feeling like everything was just right with the world. Love was happiness. It was all wonderful.
Obviously it didn’t last but it’s such a nice feeling and it helps me remember that the worry and the aspirations and the stress and the fear aren’t love. The willingness to get up three or four times in the middle of the night is love. I had to change her at four in the morning yesterday and she was so sleepy but still managed to smile at me and that was love.
Dad came over to visit and once he got past his own ‘I love you’s he read to us from a Spanish edition of Asterix. We yawned and got a little dozy and it’s a shame it couldn’t have been closer to bedtime. The important thing is that we were finally learning some Spanish. Clever daddy managed to combine love with an education. Phew.