They told me that I couldn't understand love until I had a child of my own which is a catchy little life lesson that, after learning, I fully agree with. But it's also not entirely accurate.
What they neglected to tell me is that prior to experiencing the joy of parenthood, prior to gripping my wife's hand as a human being encoded with our collective DNA drew oxygen into its lungs for the first time, prior to looking into two beautiful little eyes and catching a glimpse of myself...I didn't know a lot of things.
For example, on the day you were born, I cried for the first time. Obviously, I'd "cried" before, but before you came along, crying was just a physical response to extreme sorrow or extreme happiness.
Then, I watched your little chest heaving during those first minutes of life and lost it, all physical control gone. Every fiber of every muscle in my body leapt in response to your presence. My nose was running all over the place like it always does, but for the first time, my heart ran. It ran from my body and wrapped itself around that little, squishy boy and clung to him and hasn't let go since.
I felt fear for the first time too, not because you were in danger, not because your mom was in danger, not because I was in danger. I felt fear because time had become my enemy. We had studied and prayed and saved and prepared for your arrival, but we weren't even close to ready. We prepared for the rigid, textbook event of birth. We were ready for a physical, methodical step into being classified as parents. What we weren't ready for was for God to hand-deliver us a child that was so wonderful, mere seconds were like coveted treasure, a treasure that time was now hopelessly robbing us of.
Moments spent with you meant and continue to mean something so much bigger than myself or your mom. Our words, our actions, our inactions...everyday is a chance to steer you towards Jesus, towards kindness, towards the man we pray every night you will grow to be. Financial struggles aren't scary. School projects and work assignments aren't scary. Knowing that you are the single-most influential force in the life of another person? Now that is scary.
And yes, admittedly, I truly fell in love for the first time that day. But don't get too cocky (or roll your eyes, since you'll probably be all angsty by the time you can read this) because you may have taught me love, but on the day you were born, you weren't the only one I fell in love with.
No, on the day you were born, I fell in love with an impossibly gracious Creator who, in His infinite power chose, at 7:42pm on August 24, 2015, to entrust us with you. I fell in love with the amazing, out of my league woman that I have the greatest pleasure and honor of calling my wife (who brought you into this world and will take you out, hear me?).
And I fell in love with the summation of both of those relationships in the form of an almost-nine-pound, brown-eyed little boy.
You don't know it yet, but there's this cool movie we'll watch every Christmas about a green dude called the Grinch. He's a jerk for most of the movie, but there's a part near the end when he stops being a jerk and his heart literally grows three sizes (which, in real life, is bad and you need to go to the hospital immediately), but I like to think that's what happened to me that day.
Love didn't just grow in me. It multiplied and thrived and took on a life of its own. I had never been so head over heels for your mom before, I had never appreciated grace or mercy so much, I had never praised God like I did when you were born.
So yeah, when they tell you one day that you don't know love until you have a child, they're right. But just know that love they're talking about, when you know it for real, will change everything.
To the moon and back,