This is Gus. He’s the culprit.

A New and Different

Kind of Love

A personal essay by Greg Lofaro, dedicated to my loving wife, to commemorate our second wedding anniversary.

There is another dimension to love that I didn’t know of. If I sat and thought about it, perhaps I would have come to the conclusion that I would feel something I’ve never felt before. But I didn’t and now I’m surprised and thankful for the experience that I’m having.

I’m not sure if I’d say that love has degrees of intensity, or if there are multiple sub-categories of distinct love-oriented feelings. It’s certainly a complex emotion and can be mild or intense, and it can cause complete harmonious joy or pensive anxiety. It can make you walk in a wonderful, fluffy, impenetrable cloud that your life gets filtered through, or it can cause rage and jealousy. It’ a big one, for sure.

I love my friends.

I have good friends. Some closer than others — some bonds are stronger and some weaker. I don’t let myself suffer by begrudgingly having people in my life. I want good quality friends that I love. The love that good friends have. That’s a very specific kind of love.

I love my family.

My mother and father have both passed, but I loved them very much, but very differently. I was very close to my mother, who, was divorced from my father when I was very young. She raised us kids and worked really hard at it. My father was not a traditional father figure, but was influential and fun to be around. Pretty distinct experiences with mother and father have lead me to feel really different avenues of love for each of them.

I’m close with my sister and brother and love them dearly. My sister is my twin and my brother is a few years older. The experience of being a twin dictates that there is some level of partnership — a sharer of a womb means you’re working together from before you’re zero years old. And my brother was always a popular charmer that was easy to admire. Again, very different experiences of love.

My nieces and nephews also hold a very strong spot in my heart. A deep family love. They are wonderful individuals who I get to be a bit of a spectator watching their amazing development.

I have aunts and uncles and cousins on both sides of my family. I love them all, but just like my friends, I have varying degrees of closeness to them. Many I communicate with infrequently, but we pick up where we left off with relative ease. My interpretation is that our shared experience of family dictates an innate love that is the basis for our relationship and allows that kind of casual reconnection.

I now have a step-family and they are terrific. They are sweet, lovable people and they felt like family before my wife and I ever got married. They are warm and good… and I love them, too.

My love for my wife grew steady and strong over the first few months of dating. I had felt love before, but this was different for me. Our love had an ease to it. She was easy to love hard and it was easy to feel her love for me. She was someone who I could naturally picture spending a lot of time with old friends and family together. And it has turned out that way. Getting married was not an event on the horizon to be nervous about or that marked some milestone where there would be a “before marriage” and “after marriage”, it was a progression of our relationship, based on our love. Since the beginning, I have felt like our love is growing and dimensionalizing.

The love I have for my wife is at least something in the realm of a traditional love. A love where you can dream about what could be possible between you and another… and you find it.

Then… we had a baby.

My wife had a C-section after a long tough labor, so the baby was brought from his mothers belly right into my arms. It was like a love bomb went off. I brought him right to his mother’s face and reassured her that he was “perfect”. We both cried as the doctors finished their work. Back in the recovery room mother and baby were reunited and his powerful instincts kicked in as he was held to his mothers breast. We cried some more. The love bomb exploded and shot the love levels to maximum and they stayed there. It was not a matter of falling in love.

As I write this I realize that it must be a different experience for my wife. She went through the physical aspect of carrying our baby inside of her. Nurturing it from the outside in. So, her connection began much earlier. It’s the life-giving love that is unique between a mother and child. I have a lot of respect for that and I love my wife even more because of it.

During the pregnancy, we heard lots of “Your life will never be the same.” Most parents anticipate that. It’s all about your focus being diverted from yourselves to your child. So, sure… less sleep, little to no free time. The considerations of taking care of a baby and all that comes with it. This seems like the appropriate “buy in” before you even get pregnant — a trade-off. What I came to realize is the powerful force of emotion that drives this new difference in your life.

I’m four months and two weeks into fatherhood. I feel like all three of us are a team that’s all learning the playbook at the same time. We’re figuring it out, making it happen… with the common goal of healthy, happy baby and re-integrated functioning adults.

I never really thought of it much, but when I did, I believed I could be a good father. I will let time tell that story, but for now, I’m really loving it. I never changed diapers before this kid, never fed a baby. I never put a baby to bed in their crib. I never had to. But that has changed. It was my pleasure to relieve my wife of the overnight feedings so that she could get a solid stretch of sleep during those first couple of months at home. I’m a master at economical wipe consumption while doing diaper changes. I developed an all star swaddling technique in the hospital and always feel confident about my ability to put our kid to bed. These are the mechanics of parenthood. But coupled with this explosion of love they are never mundane or troublesome. They are the gems that you mine every day that payoff the overall experience. The seeds, the foundation, whatever you want to call it. I feel like I’m setting the tone of my relationship and I’m taking it very seriously (while also being pretty silly a lot of the time).

So, now, I get less sleep than I ever did. I don’t play video games any more. I rarely have any down time or me time or free time. I watch a lot less TV. My wife and I have not gone to the movies since the baby was born, something we loved to do. I have at least one third more laundry to do. And I’m alright with all of it. I’m happier. I’m more motivated. I feel lucky. I sing to my son and I cry when we’re alone. I feel a new bond with my wife and it fortifies our already beautiful love. We gaze at our baby and happy-cry together all the time. And it has all come out of the different kind of love I feel for this sweet baby.

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