This I Believe

Nadine - McCordsville, Indiana
Entered on November 5, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: love, parenthood

I believe in love at first sight.

I never did before. First impressions can be wrong. Someone however, changed my mind one cold and rainy morning.

I remember hearing the slapping of her flip-flops as she returned to the office. The rain thrashing at the windows almost drowned out the sound, as if jealously competing for my attention. Niagara Falls couldn’t have drowned out the sounds her footsteps made as she came to the office, cradling our future in her arms.

Love should be shared; if kept to oneself it stagnates. Trees must send forth shoots and buds, filling new growth with the wisdom and essence of itself; years of warm sunshine, cold winters, abundant rains and endless droughts. A tree that produces no branches eventually withers and dies; even the soil will not remember its being.

I felt like a tree with no branches. I would produce no buds. I would have no one to pass my wisdom to, or teach that life and this world existed before we were born, and would continue when we pass. No one to show in day to day living, what morality, maturity and responsibility mean.

Then I remembered things are taught and absorbed from everyday life too, like a gesture, or certain tilt the head. Genes have little to do with that. While I see my mother when I look into the mirror, I feel her presence more in the way I hold the yarn when I crochet, or when I sing parts of old songs that she taught me. There is nurture as well as nature in every parent/child relationship, and it was that realization that began the process that brought us here today on this dreary morning.

As the footsteps drew nearer, thoughts like tiny stilettos whirled through my mind, piercing and stabbing at every turn. Would I be a good mother? What if the birth mother changed her mind? What if some were right and it wasn’t the same as your own child? Then the deepest and worst question arose. What if I couldn’t love her?

The Social Worker finally entered the room. Like a coward I closed my eyes, and all I could hear was my heart beating. Then opening my eyes, I braced myself to see my future.

I believe in love at first sight because it happened to me. I looked at that infant and loved instantly, fully and wholly. Yes was all I could think. Yes, that’s my daughter, yes, she’s all I’ve wanted, and yes she’s perfect! Glancing at my husband showed he felt the same.

The trip home took two hours. I sat in the back of the car, cradling our daughter’s head in my hands. She seemed so tiny, and the world so huge. That’s when I realized that it didn’t matter that her life hadn’t begun in me. What mattered was that that her life would continue in me and through me. Love at first sight had turned into love forever.