Time and time again since Shirley's birth I have marveled at the immense amount of joy I get from being a father. Maybe someone can explain it to me better but I've been thrown for a loop thinking about what love is and how it comes about being manifested in our lives. I love Shirley; but why do I love Shirley? It certainly isn't as simple as the fact that she is my blood daughter. When I look at her I have a sense of joy but it is so hard to understand from where that joy spawns. Looking at her may trigger something in my brain which produces a response that correlates with joy and feelings of love but why it does so is a much harder thing to understand. Obviously, I have a knowledge that Shirley is my daughter and that might shed some light on why she evokes such a strong response but even that doesn't seem to be enough. There must still be something that transcends simple knowledge, the senses, and chemical reactions. Something truly metaphysical, producing in me the the foundation that links these things together and enables me to having feelings of love for her. The same can be said for my wife. Beyond simple physical attraction there is something much deeper that evokes a sense of love for her. There is something immaterial that I can't explain that must be at work. To chalk it up to instinct seems like a bit of a cop out. That it might be evolutionarily favorable to have feelings of love towards my family is equally weak in my book and if it were the case it's certainly not the least bit romantic. I would like to hear a lecture on how the idea of romance evolved. Instinct is just another way to say, "we really don't know why such and such a thing happens." That was a long rant that I'm not quite sure has a place but it is something I have been pondering over the last few weeks.
I don't think I'm that much different than the average guy and I would be willing to bet that many men have fancied themselves poets in the face of love. For us that have no real knowledge of how to craft a poem, nor the vocabulary to express our feelings, we are left to daydream and let our imaginations be our pens. It is the worst kind of poetry, though, because it is so hard to replicate what has been imagined and materialize it for the object(s) and inspiration of that affection. I have written multiple letters to my wife most of which were penned before we wed. Shirley also has a little notebook, with her name on it, that I have written in for her to read when she is able. Also, most of which I wrote before she made her entrance. There are so many times, though, that my mind has been overrun by the most poetic and romantic little daydreams. Things that will never make it to paper. I am not even that romantic. I'm a lazy romantic at best. Ask Brianna how romantic I am. She probably won't have much to say... Most of my romance is wasted passing time behind the windshield of UPS truck. Brianna is always asking me to write her letters like I used to. She wants more of the romance from our pre-marriage days. I bet this is common of many relationships. The romance is still there though and often times the romance was inspired by time apart. Brianna and I might as well be attached at the hip these days and the time apart is hardly time that I have for picking up a pen. I wake up every day next to the object of my affection. She is not far off, she is not out of reach. The depth contained in the the phrase, "good morning, I love you," is very great and not understood well enough. Nor is a something seemingly as simple as kiss on the nose before getting out of bed to start the day. I don't really like hearing, "tell me you love me." Don't get on my case too much for this, but I think the best reply is, "you know that I love you." I generally disagree with the idea the the word love is misused. Often times people point to the fact that Greek had four unique words for love to show that we have no idea what the word love means anymore. I was never a fan of that either. Context has always been more than enough for me. When I say, "I love food" it should be obvious that it is nothing like when I say, "I love my wife." All that to reenforce "good morning, I love you," as something much more than superficial. Though it is a small thing, it lacks depth only if you choose not to look at it closely enough. Like a cell under a microscope made up of many organelles, made up of many proteins, made up of many atoms, made up of sub atomic particles, and who knows what else. If I could only get my wife to look at it that way... I don't think she would ever ask me to tell her I love her again. She may, every now and then, think about it that way and hopefully she will smile a bit to herself with the knowledge that I do love her and the same goes for Shirley. I'm also certain that she will ask me to tell her again and I'll be able to smirk and tell her "I love you. I do. I do. I do."
There is also this sense of being a puppet on strings, a marionette, dancing about at the hands of my master(s). In my case, Shirley and Brianna. It is probably true of many love relationships that there are certainly times you find yourself acting in a way that does not resemble your normal self. It's not a facade, not the real you; it's an inspired you, that needs some tickle of romance before, like a peacock, you will show your feathers. Isn't it kind of funny that in the world of birds the males are the pretty ones. Shirley and Brianna both have, at times, seemed more like puppeteers in a non-manipulative way (if there is such a thing). Nevertheless, its a wonderful feeling being at the whims of love. Romance, I think. is the real mystery that I have been trying to plumb and I don't expect that I will ever know its depth.
It has been a long time! It took me days to write the last few paragraphs in between feeds, drugs, dishes, diapers, cooking, cleaning, shopping, appointments, and the bits of sleep we get. We are still alive, albeit sometimes it doesn't feel much like life. If I'm not getting enough sleep I can be a monster and in the last few days the long nights caught up with me. I am a pretty easy going guy and I often have a good deal of patience and do not get frustrated easily. Over the last few days though I have found myself apologizing to Brianna many times over. I'm probably more like a child that is in desperate need of a nap. Brianna has had bountiful grace for me, though, and it is a good insight into myself that I often times forget about. I have been thinking about how to take those moments captive, when I know I'm tired, and instead respond in a way appropriate for the situation, refraining from making a difficult time more difficult. I hope that what I wrote earlier made some sense or that it resonates with some of you.