Love is such a difficult thing to describe; it is impossible to quantify. Rondel and Limerick have been attempting to articulate how much they appreciate or enjoy something by telling me they love it “even more” than they love something very special to them, including people (so one would say he loved Grandma more than Mommy, and the other one would state the opposite, or they would say they loved a new type of popsicle even more than swimming). They have also asked me a few times who I loved the most – talk about a question with no right answer!
What I’ve been explaining to them, and how I answered their question, was that I love all of them in different ways, because they are different people and our relationships are likewise different. I love them all just the same amount, but it looks different; in a sense, my love for each of them is a different color, but each color blazes with the same intensity, beauty, and brightness.
If they asked me which color represented my love for each of them, this is how I would respond…
My love for you, Rondel, is a bright bold orange, like the petals of a Mexican bird-of-paradise flower, blazing out with counterparts of deeper red. We are two of a kind, sharing a quick temper and a passionate loyalty, delving together into the depths of our shared interests, butting heads but holding no bitterness, reconciling all things with honesty and hugs. You challenge and stretch me so much, every day, by your continual outwardly-expressive energy and powerful attachment to me. Your imagination flames up and pulls you into your own world – and you hold the door open for me to step through after you. I love you with the intensity of a burning ember that will never be extinguished; I love you with the tenderness and gentleness of a golden spring poppy.
My love for you, Limerick, is a deep, dark violet. I may have used to call it purple, but you have instructed me otherwise. You, my son, are a profoundly sensitive and intensely particular soul, with a precarious equilibrium whose calibrations I am still awkwardly attempting to decipher. In so many ways you are like me – reserved, easily hurt, fiercely independent yet often content to observe rather than participate – and yet you seem to me like the mouth of a cave opening to mysteries and wonders unknowable. You laugh and play and imagine; you invent and compromise and adapt; you attempt to do everything by yourself and fall apart in tears when you can’t; you seek out time alone to restore your energy and good humor; you find great pleasure in order and pattern. I love you with the expectant charge of a rain-heavy sky before it bursts open with lightning and thunder to pour down life and renewal; I love you with the soft whisper of a dusky moth’s wings as it flies, a hidden wonder, into the night.
My love for you, Aubade, is green like the first leaves of spring. Every day I find myself in awe of you: your attentive observation and imitation, your amazing non-verbal communication, your focus and persistence on whatever is interesting you, your wide range of interests and skills, and just generally your whole perfect beautiful self. Of all my children, you are probably the least like me – you are a lover of adventure, wild and fierce; you know your goals and let nothing stand in your way. You swing on a big kid’s swing already at 17 months, climb ladders, go down slides, and jump on trampolines. Flipping you upside down is a sure way to bring a smile to your face! And yet you still love to come back for a snuggle with a book in your hand, ready to read. You are learning and growing so much every day, and I am learning and growing with you. I love you with the steady, constant presence of a tree that might endure for centuries; I love you with the bright new possibility of life and beauty hidden inside a flower bud.
How could I ever quantify, much less compare, these loves I have for you? The closest I can come is to assure you that my love has no conditions and no constraints; it will not wear thin with time or shatter if you go too far.