I remember the first time he gave me his heart. I had brought him a gift, a silly little something (a car toy, I think), and was shamelessly using it to bribe him for his attention. He wasn’t much of a smiler then – actually, he wasn’t much of anything. He just rolled his eyes whenever someone talked, as if he had heard the tale a hundred times before. And cried. And ate. And slept. So I offered him the gift without really expecting any results.
He studied the toy for a few seconds and looked me in the eye with a kind of knowledge that is hard to describe. As if he knew all the negotiations tactics in the universe and was weighing his options. Finally, without taking his eyes from me, he extended his hand and gave me his baby bottle full of milk. My sister couldn’t believe it; she said he never gave his bottle to anyone other than her.
He was 18 months at the time. I was staying at my sister’s house for about two weeks. I tried my best to make him smile more often, but even with the successful trading at the start, he hardly gave me more than three or four smiles during those 12 days (he was the brooding type). Then I went back to Brazil, returned to my normal life and almost never saw him.
What I didn’t know was that my determination during those days was probably the seed to what flourished afterwards. When I moved to Belgium in March, he was indifferent to me at first, but I was not to him, so I stayed close to him as much as I could.
Eventually, he started asking about me. Every day he wants to know where I am and when he will see me, according to my sister. And when he is with me, he acts funny. He looks intently at me when he thinks I am distracted. When I turn to him, he smiles slowly, almost flirtatiously. He sits by my side to watch TV and takes my hand.
He’s in love for me, or as much as a three year old can be.
It’s the most humbling love I’ve ever known. It’s wonderful. It’s simple and beautiful. It’s gigantic and undefinable. It just is.
I don’t know if his love will ever diminish. Maybe it will, and it’s ok if it does. But I – gosh, I’m a goner. I will always love him like that, and probably even more as I watch him grow. I want nothing more than that: to see him grow and live and love and be happy.
Oh, wow. Now, that’s something that makes you humble, isn’t it? To love like that. It got me thinking. Why can’t we always love like that? Without overthinking everything, every action and every encounter. Without the fear of getting hurt.
The other day this very beautiful song, which always makes me think about coming back home, started to play. I took him in my arms, waltzing playfully around the living room. He laughed and threw his head backwards, completely surrendered, and this wave of love hit me like a fist in the gut. It was one of the most beautiful moments we ever had, and, to me, one of the most special ones, because I realized that love is never complicated. Love is never hard. Love is never threatening.
We are. It’s us who make it complex, difficult, potentially harmful. We do this out of fear, out of egoism, out of arrogance, out of spite, out of a lot of things. But love makes you humble. When you feel it with all your heart, you come to terms with everything that could possibly bother you. You recognize its simplicity, but more than that, you accept your own, and you just feel the feeling.
Nothing else matters then. Because even though you are always thinking about all the things you need, at that moment of supremacy, you know you have every single thing you will ever need.
That’s what’s so beautiful and everlasting about it.
By the way, the song that I referred to is called Welcome Home, by Radical Face. Here it is, for your own enjoyment: