Sunday, June 26, 2016

Why I Believe in Love at First Sight

You know how it goes. Someone will ask, "Do you believe in love at first sight?" And then there's a debate. Is it truly possible to fall in love at first sight? Is it real love or just lust and desire? Is it just "attraction at first sight" instead?

Personally, I always thought "love at first sight" was kind of ridiculous. How can you truly love someone after only meeting them (or seeing them) once? You barely known anything about them. You might not even know their name or what they look like. How could you ever love someone without knowing the deeper or important things about their life? (Like how they chew their food or what their favorite TV show is.) I just didn't think it could be real.

However, my thoughts on this question have changed. It all started with a boy. I gazed upon his face, and immediately I was smitten. I was wholly devoted to him. I fell in love in an instant, and my original answer to the "Do you believe in love at first sight?" was thrust upside down. I now know love at first sight is possible.

Now before you get all moany, groany over the gushy-mushy love story, let me clarify. This is not some boy I fell in love with during a whirlwind summer romance. I don't sit and think about this boy with a daydreamy look on my face. This isn't a boy I would do anything to marry. It's not that kind of love. He's not that kind of boy. This boy is my nephew Owen, who turns one today.


When I first laid eyes on that tiny, squishy, squirming, chubby-cheeked, red faced baby, it was insta-love for me. I fell in love with that little baby boy at first sight.

I'm not a baby person. Or at least, I thought I wasn't. Before my nephew was born, I thought all babies hated me. They cry and cry and cry. And they can't tell me what's wrong like a two year-old can. (And I don't know how to tell what's wrong either.) They can't do much but sleep, poop, eat, and cry again. They're pudgy and smelly and sometimes so squishy they're ugly. Babies and I don't get along.

But in an instant, that all changed. A year later, I learned there is at least one baby in this world that doesn't hate me. He loves me; he does. I can tell by the way his whole face lights up when he sees me. How he crawls or totters his way over to me as fast as his little body can go. I can tell by how much he laughs and smiles and shines when I play with him. He's adorable, really. He's the cutest baby I've ever laid eyes on. (I'm not biased at all. Other people tell me the same thing.) And he loves me.

But let me tell you something about love. I'm young. I don't know that much about love. Not really. I'm still learning how to love and how to receive love in return. But I know I believe in love at first sight. I know it's real. I've experienced it. Maybe it's not a romantic type of love we see in movies or read about in books. It's not the kind of love you want to base your marriage on. No, I think love at first sight comes in other forms of love.

Like the love of a child--a baby boy who is cuddly and cute and hilarious to watch and entertain. Or maybe love for something you witness in nature: a sunrise, a meteor shower, a blooming flower. Maybe you see something and you feel a tugging toward it. Maybe "love" isn't the right word for it after all.

I sure do love the stars and outer space. I think I fall in love with space every time I take a gander at the night sky. I fall in love at first sight over a lot of things. I fall in love with snow every winter. I fall in love with moments of joy. I fall in love with new words and new reasons to laugh. I fall in love with lines of writing or the first bite of food.

I think the whole "love at first sight" can be true. I believe it can happen. It might not be with a romantic partner. It might not be someone you meet and want to marry. I think that kind of love takes time, commitment, and hard work. But there are other types of love, other types of emotions, that can happen at first.

Like the love for a little boy. Or for the best book in a bookstore. Or a sunset or looking out over the Grand Canyon. Or watching an older gentleman open the car door for his wife even after 50 years.

Love at first sight might be true. It could be. Maybe it's not for everybody. But I know I believe in some small way it can happen every single day.

Happy 1st Birthday, Owen!

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