Christmas is the season of love, and I have loved sharing it with my 11-month-old son. He’s at the age where he’s dazzled by Christmas lights, screams at the sight of Santa, and uses his teeth to rip open his Christmas presents before I can even finish wrapping them.
This has been such a happy time, and I wish I could go back to tell my single 20-something self that love and a family of my own would eventually find me. There were times in my life when I wasn’t so sure what the future would hold.
A wise high school English teacher once said, “Jen, you may find that you have many loves of your life.” Throughout the years those words have come back to me and I always find new meaning in them.
At the time, he was trying to console my broken 16-year-old heart after I found out that my “soul mate” was dating another girl. “The love of my life is gone,” I dramatically wrote in my creative writing essay.
When grading the essay, Mr. Russell explained that life is long and full of love. He encouraged me to look forward to the next one. I brushed off that crazy thought, sure that this had been my one and only chance for happiness.
Of course, I eventually fell in love again, and I remember thinking that Mr. Russell was right. I can now look back and see the beauty of all the falling in and out of love and have even heard myself repeat my teacher’s words to my younger nieces, nephews and cousins when “the one” gets away. It seems to always come in handy around that age, and I’m sure his words were so wise because he had a lot of practice at that speech by the time he got to me.
Even today I think of those words and feel their meaning in a new way. I realized that even the meaning of “love of my life” could change. I now know that my son is the true love of my life. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever felt.
That’s why even though my little bud won’t remember this Christmas, I’m trying to make it as magical as I can for him.
We didn’t risk putting a Christmas tree in his path, but I hung all of our special ornaments on ribbons above the front window. My son’s first Christmas ornament is there among the treasured ornaments of my childhood and the beautiful ones his dad and I received as wedding presents. They represent a lot of love over the years.
As for the first “love of my life,” I’m happy to report that he recently took my proposal advice and popped the question to his girlfriend at the Indianapolis Zoo.
I’m sure Mr. Russell would be happy to know his words of wisdom have taught me new lessons through the years, and that there is, in fact, plenty of love to look forward to for all of us.