Loving versus in love

Tess got very serious with me the other day in the car on the way home. She explained that she was going to marry a white man named Dan, they were going to live in Arizona have three little girls – so they could be near grandma and grandpa. Then she explained they’d be “in love” like I’m in love with her. Huh. Um, well…

Then she got mad at me, because how could I love daddy – or anyone! – more than her?! So I must be “in love” with her too. This child is constantly catching me off guard. No matter how many conversations I prepare in my mind, she comes up with some extraordinary way of viewing of the world.

I love that she’s playing grown up. Everything these days is “when I’m 31” or “when I’m 16”. It usually involves her brothers and sisters, and accessories. Whether that’s earrings or a car, doesn’t matter. She’s trying on different versions of who she wants to be.

Remy’s doing the same thing, only he’s going to be Batman. Or Ironman. Or the Black Panther. He tries on being polite and helpful, being too old for a lullaby, being a bit of a jerk. But he always reverts to kind and thoughtful. We can try on different parts, but we are who we are.

Tess isn’t wrong. I am in love with each of our kids, in a special way. The head-spinning magic of discovering a person only grows when we discover who they are as they do. These kids (and I suspect everyone’s kids) charm us, amaze us, challenge us, inspire us, and always make us laugh. Daily. If that’s not being in love, what is?

As cheesy as it sounds, “in love” viewed in that light is the state of grace that brings us patience for one more minute, helps us enjoy those “perfect” moments for as long as they last, and reminds us that the tough moments will be over eventually. And they recharge. So according to Tess’ logic, I am wildly in love with Dave and with each of our kids, as odd as that may sound.

Our weekend gave us ample reminder of that. We finally got some down time, so we cooked together, read together, went to the park, rested, you name it. And we all came into the week calmer and happier for it. We need quality time as a family the same way we need quality time as a couple – and sometimes the best way to get that is to clear the calendar. So as summer gives its last gasp and we get into squash and greens season, we’re leaning into each other over here, and the largest group of “in love” people I could’ve have imagined being part of.