When you suffer a heartbreak, your heart feels like it is shattered into innumerable pieces and everything hurts, and it can sometimes feel like nothing will ever be right again…However, when you experience a heart-breaking-open, all those little pieces, too many to count, move to new and different parts of your brain and your body, and they multiply, and they morph, and they become more kinds of love. You become filled with a depth and breadth of love that is impossible to describe, and bigger than you could ever have imagined would live inside of you, but there it is, helping you to find joy and beauty and goodness in your day, and pushing you, urging you really, to try to make any day of your life more loving…and then you love so many more things than you did before, and differently…and you experience both the good and the bad in completely new ways, and when things are bad and feel bad and seem bad, they all turn around, eventually, into love. Love from a broken open heart has turned out, for me, to be the biggest gift, and I can tell you I know the moment it happened…13 years ago an explosion of love came into me and nothing has been the same since. A seven character text message, after midnight, changed my life. Really.
The ride home that night, thirteen years ago, was the beginning of the better version of me, my living life with a wide open heart, filled, or so I thought, to capacity…my first granddaughter, my daughter’s first baby, begins her next chapter of life today with ages ending in the word “teen.” I can still remember that feeling, my legs kind of felt numb for a minute, when I read the text message, when I learned that she was now on this earth, and although she was hours away in North Carolina, my heart felt like she was right beside me, that is how much I loved her, even before I knew her.
That late night, as my friend, who was performing at a local outdoor tiki bar, finished his set, his songs sounded better, the moon looked brighter, the annoying drunk young people seemed less annoying and less drunk, the palm trees along the water seemed to sway more elegantly…everything began that night to feel different and to seem different and, 13 years later I can now affirm, became different. That kind of love changes a person. That kind of love changed me.
She is changing so fast now, this girl child who today is a teenager…every week, or so it seems, she is a bit different from how she was the week before. I barely have to nod my head now to kiss the top of hers. She doesn’t need me very much anymore for any one thing, but when she sends me random text messages, it feels good just to know that she is thinking of me…I can’t ever describe how it is, that I think of her, and her sister, in almost all the empty moments of almost all of my days when I’m not occupied with other thoughts.
I know, from my own experience of raising a girl child into a woman, that there are going to be some stressful times ahead, for both this girl I so love and her mother, the girl who I loved first…it’s strange how I can love my daughter so much but love her children so much more, and in such a different way…I love both of the children with an intensity that is sometimes a little scary really, but there is something indescribably special about the first grandchild that I can neither articulate nor explain. It doesn’t diminish the love I have for the second child, it is not better than, or bigger than, just different than…It’s like she occupies a part of my heart that I never knew existed until she existed, and it, my heart, can never go back to how it was before…it is simply a bigger and better heart since she took her first breath.
I think about that night ride home today, her birthday, and remember that I was in awe…gobsmacked that I could feel THIS MUCH FEELING…even before I saw her face and touched her little fingers…just knowing she was on the earth was enough for me to know that if I never loved anything again in my life, the love I had inside of me that night, was enough.