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February 15, 2008

Someone Else To Love

I didn’t want another child. 

When our first son Josh was born in 1981 it was a magical event which changed our lives dramatically and irrevocably.  The so called “honeymoon” period of our early married years, where we only were accountable to ourselves, ended abruptly for now our world revolved around our baby son.   And while I was captivated and obsessed with every sound and movement of this tiny human,jealousy and resentment grew within me toward the interloper who demanded and received undivided attention from his mother…my wife, my lover and my closest friend.

So when Josh was two and my wife suggested that he needed a brother my reaction was strong and selfish, fearful that another child would add to the distance and alienation that had already deeply wounded my pride and self-esteem.  Realizing that my insecurities were being exposed I offered weak excuses for my resistance to the idea of having another child in hopes of deflected attention away from the hurt that I felt.  I am really happy with one child.  Being an only child is not so bad.  Maybe we should wait a little while longer”, I whined.  But at the core there was an even greater fear which I finally blurted out one evening after we had put Josh to bed.  “What if I don’t have enough love for another child…I don’t know that I can divide my love any more than what I already have between you and Josh.”

What happened next became one of those defining moments of my life when Marissa replied simply that “You won’t have to divide your love between us further you will simply have someone else to love.” Her words had a profound effect on me that day and I willingly put my faith in this new truth. A year later David was born and I will forever be grateful to her for those words of wisdom at a point when self doubt and self centeredness dominated my emotions.

David arrived a year later and was a beautiful boy; a kind and loving child who despite his struggle with substance abuse never lost his warmly affectionate nature and humility.  Since his death at 16 in a drug related drowning I have reflected many times on what life would have been like without David having been born.  His death was also a defining moment and while magical thinking is not a place I go often I have come to believe that if the price I had to pay to have David for his short 16 years was the grief and pain of his loss, then it was without question worth the cost and I would not hesitate to do it again.

I didn’t want another child but the gift of his life did indeed give me someone else to love and cherish now and forever.

February 15, 2008 at 08:07 AM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack