I have spent the last week getting all of my official documents: drivers license, passport, student visa, bank account, credit cards, etc changed back to my maiden name. Everyone who I’ve spoken with during the process feels obliged to comment and the comments range from awkward: “I never know what to say in these situations” to congratulatory: “I danced in the streets when my divorce was final” to pitying “It’s always too bad when marriages fall apart… especially when there’s children involved.” At this point, I am sort of numb to it, so when the man helping me at the nexus office commented on my email address it caught me off guard.
My email address. I have four, which I am aware is completely ridiculous, but I have one that I usually give for online orders etc and one that is my “personal” account where I receive actual messages, you know where people write you an email addressed to you, not a forward or a mass email, etc. So I expected the nexus office to have my junk mail email address on file, but instead he verified my personal email address, smiled and said it was cute.
Cute. I wanted to tell him that it’s a nickname, but then I would’ve had to explain that it’s a nickname my husband –my ex-husband- gave me. I wanted to explain that he is a good person and that I loved him, that I love him, just not enough.
Enough. I have always considered myself to be a loving person. I have been told by astrologists, numerologists and palm readers that I fall in love quickly and easily, and this seemed to be true based on my life experience. Then I gave birth to my son and realized I had never loved anyone or anything this much before. In fact, I am not sure I had ever loved at all.
Love. I know they say there is nothing like a mother’s love, but I also know that some mothers don’t love their children because they cant, because they don’t know how, and some women love their husbands more than they love their children even though they would never admit it. People also say that you don’t really know what love is until you are older, but I don’t think that’s true. I think we are born knowing, born loving, but we forget. Things happen to us that make us forget and we start to use the word enough next to the word love, and that’s when it’s no longer love, or at least it’s not the kind of love I am looking to express in my life. Are there kinds of love? Maybe. Or maybe that is what we say to comfort ourselves to keep from facing the possibility that we have never really let anyone in to that place where there are no conditionals.
How does it feel to realize you have never loved before despite having professed the words thousands of times? Defective. I feel defective. But hopeful.
Hope. I love my son unquestionably and unconditionally, and whatever doubts I have about whether or not I have loved anyone else before the first moment I held him in my arms don’t really matter. I know that I can love because of him because I love him. Lately, he has been telling me “I love you mom” and then “I don’t love you mom.” I think he is trying to sort out what it has taken me 25 years to realize: that there is a huge range of emotion and depth between I like you and I love you. When he says this, I just smile, look into his eyes and say “Pasa lo que pasa te amo para siempre, I love you no matter what and I always will.” And I know that what I am saying is true.
If I only ever love one person this much at least I will know I have loved, that I am capable of love. And that’s a start.