The BLOG: Voices

I Didn’t Know Love Until I Became A Parent

Love.

It’s funny how our idea of what love is changes over the years. How we can have just so many different variations of unconditional love …but they all have the same core emotion attached.

When I was younger, it was love for my parents and family.  I remember my grandparents trying to leave the house and me clinging to their legs, desperately trying to keep them with us.

I remember burying my grandmother … saying goodbye with my hand on her casket, again desperately wishing I could keep her with us.

We grow.  We change.  But love doesn’t disappear … it evolves.

I remember having the hots for one girl in particular when I was in my 20s.  We had some fun dates.  Then, one night, she was supposed to come over for wine and homemade dessert. 

Only thing is she never showed.  I’ll never forget eating that dessert while polishing off the last few drops of the wine and staring out the window … wondering why she didn’t call or text. 

Failed relationships.  Heartache.  The thought that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t cut out for the whole “love” thing.  Perhaps it was something I didn’t deserve.

Then came the love of my life … again.  We had actually met when I was 13.  I got on the bus the first day of school and saw her.  I asked the kid next to me who she was.  He told me her name was “Quinn” and wanted to know why I was asking.

“I’m going to marry her,” I told him.

“Yeah, you and everyone else,” he said.

We became good friends … and then lost touch for nearly 15 years.  By the time we reconnected … I was still smitten … and thankfully much better looking.

The butterflies never stopped.  From the moment I asked her on our first official date … to the day I proposed at “our” vineyard with a note folded up in a wine glass … to the day we said “I do.” 

When you’re married, life has a way of punching you both in the face and making you think it was each other sometimes.  But the love …that unconditional love … that’s what matters.

Yet it wasn’t until kids that I really learned how to love. 

I wish I could say I’ve mastered the art.  I haven’t.  But every day, I’m blessed to watch my beautiful wife teach me in the most patient of ways by pouring that love into our household.

I’m filled with memories of my own childhood when I see my kids interact with my wife, my parents and my in-laws.  When I watch them play with chalk or try a new food for the first time.  I feel all of the emotions of love that I’ve felt over the years again … just in a way that’s … different.

Our youngest daughter (she’s an infant) likes to pull on my facial hair as hard as she can and smile when she’s doing it.  Sometimes love hurts.

Last week, our oldest daughter (she’s a toddler) fed the dogs.  Before she let them eat … she said grace with them.

Shortly after, she proceeded to dump her own dinner on the floor.  When she saw the look of frustration on my face, she asked me a simple question while donning the cutest look in the world on her own face.

“Are you happy that you’re with me, daddy?  Does it make you happy when we’re together?”

Damnit.  One point, daughter.

Love. 

It’s that feeling you can’t put words to. 

It’s that joy in your heart in knowing that, no matter how screwed up the world is, it’s all going to be O.K..

It’s the emotion you get when you realize that, in so many ways, your kids take after your wife … and you couldn’t possibly be more blessed.

It’s that moment that you realize that all of the love you were raised with is amplified … and sometimes it’s such a powerful feeling that it makes your heart hurt.

And it’s understanding that the greatest blessing we can ever receive is something that we can give so freely to others … if we so choose.

I pray that my wife and my daughters always know how deeply I love them … even though it’s not something I think any man could ever truly put into words.

Love.  We all have it in us.  We just all need to let more of it out there.

 

Kyle S. Reyes is President and CEO of The Silent Partner Marketing. He’s also an acclaimed keynote speaker on entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing and social media. You can follow him on Facebook.

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