When I knew she was the “One”
Don’t worry. This isn’t some sappy post about I how I met Melissa and how we fell deeply and madly in the love the moment we first saw each other. That’s a silly notion and I don’t subscribe to it.
Love doesn’t just materialize. It doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s gotta be created. It’s gotta be developed, and grown and maintained and –
NO ONE WALKS INTO LOVE.
Or so I thought.
Melissa and I became parents in a bit a vacuum. After having tried *makes hip thrusting motion* for nearly five years, we quickly and gladly made the decision to adopt. We sold the sports car to pay the agency, did the paperwork and the home-study and then hunkered down for what we were told would be an 18-24 month wait.
But then, just 4 months later, on a Thursday afternoon in September, my phone rang.
It’s funny how a single moment or a single conversation can preserve an entire day’s memories down to the most finite details regardless of relevance. I mean, I remember what I was wearing, the meetings I had earlier in the day – I even remember being down to a ¼ tank of gas as I pulled into parking lot for work that morning – useless details but preserved nonetheless in the wake of one significant moment.
It was just after lunch and Melissa was calling. I answered and she told me Doug (our case worker) had just called and, “There’s a baby.”
A few moments of silence.
She then went on to tell me it was a baby girl born just a few days earlier but there had been some complications. The baby had come early.
Like really early.
Like scary early.
She was in the NICU at Henry Ford Hospital in downtown Detroit (a place soon to become our second home) after having a sustained a traumatic birth. She had suffered a number of seizures, had been without oxygen for a period of time and doctors weren’t certain but they feared she may have cerebral-palsy or spina-bifida.
So, basically some pretty scary sh-t my wife is me telling on this call. I remember just slumping down backwards against the window sill of my office and I remember how cool the window felt against my back. I remember thinking it should have felt warmer since the sun had been coming through it all morning. Useless details.
But weirdly during this call, Melissa seemed excited. I on the other hand, thought this was crazy and for sure we would pass on this “one”. The last thing I wanted to do was get excited about the first “one” that came our way and as big of a decision as this would be, we should take our time and make it wisely.
You know, like we should do a pro’s and con’s list or maybe I could do one of my spreadsheets with some scoring formulas or even a pivot table or two. I thought I could approach this like we had approached any other major decision in our life, like buying a car or switching jobs.
This just wouldn’t be the “one” and my spreadsheets would stand accountable for that conclusion, not me.
I told Melissa I’d come right home so we could talk and work through it. I spent the 25-minute drive home gathering my thoughts and preparing what I would say and how I would tell my wife this wasn’t the “one” and that “the best things would come to those who wait”. I’d get home, I’d open my laptop and we’d hash this out and surely she would see.
This would be one of those moments, I thought, when I needed to be the patriarch in the relationship, put my foot down and make the difficult decision. It wouldn’t be pretty but it needed to be done.
Maybe after telling her, I’d book us a cruise to cheer her back up, you know, like a good head of household should.
I know. Horrible.
Pre-kids me was kind of a dick.
I’ll own it.
But bear with me – I get what’s coming to me.
My life didn’t really change with that phone call and it really didn’t change the moment I’d meet my daughter a few days later. It changed the moment I walked in the door and saw my wife standing there in the hallway waiting for me to get home. It wasn’t a look on her face or anything she said. There was just this new, complete but incomplete energy I could feel between us. It was by far, one of the most powerful and unique feelings I had ever had in my life up to that point.
It immediately felt like it was no longer just the two of us but like there was someone missing. The best I can describe it is like when you leave the kids with the babysitter and you’re out with your wife or your partner. You know there’s more than just the two of you but you’re just not in proximity to them. I really can’t explain it other than I knew that our daughter was here and that we were no longer a couple, but a family. It was truly indescribable.
This was love at first sight. Not with my wife – I had been in love with her for years now – but this was love at first sight for my daughter and me. I hadn’t seen my daughter and I had no idea what she looked like but I loved her the moment I saw my wife in that hallway.
Overwhelmingly. Unconditionally. Unmistakably.
You could also say I fell in love with my wife all over again in that hallway because in that very moment, I knew my wife had loved our daughter the second she took that call almost an hour ago. I was ashamed I had wasted that last hour on “practicality” and discussion preparation, when I could have spent it loving my new daughter along side my wife. That’s the hour that will always place my wife well above me as a sort of warrior mother because she wouldn’t bow to the fear of practicality, uncertainty or “wise decisions”. She didn’t need a love-at-first-sight moment to love our daughter like I did. She got the call and without hesitation, took on her calling and mantle and became a mother. I still feed off that example. Melissa will always have 1 hour more of experience as a parent than I will which is why she will always be the leading expert when it comes to our children.
So anyways, this was love at first sight for me and I’m a subscriber to the notion now. Through one glance at my wife, I instantly knew my daughter was here and I loved her unconditionally as though we had spent the last ninth months pregnant with her.