Do you remember the first time you really thought about love? The concept of it. The depth of it. The responsibility of it.
I was ten when she was born.
And it was the first time I knew what love was. It wasn’t something someone told me to do. Or something that was said because everyone said it. It wasn’t something inanimate like loving my books.
This was the real deal.
I remember wanting to protect her. Care for her. It was the first time I loved a child, as a child. She wasn’t close enough in age to be a playmate, or a contender in the ring of sibling rivalry. She was little. And she was huggable and adorable. Up to that point in my life I don’t remember the rest of us being overly affectionate as children. We were fiercely independent and there was no way in hell we would have hugged and kissed on one another. E.V.E.R. That’s my recollection.
Until she came along.
Once she arrived things seemed to be different. We did hug. Her. We did love. Her. We did kiss. Her. We all liked. Her.
She was safe to love and shower affection on.
I remember watching her. And oft times being angry about having to watch her. But other times I remember wanting to watch her. To be with her. Not just because of how I felt about her. Because of how she felt about me. She loved me. I knew it. Without her even being able to talk, I knew it. She would want me to hold her. She would want to be with me. How do you not love this?
I remember two occasions when she was hurt as a child. And I can’t begin to tell you how I felt. And if you have ever loved a child, you don’t need me to explain it to you. It was my first experience with that kind of pain.
I don’t know that I can look backwards and recognize all of the ‘first’ times in my life where I became aware of something. Learned a concept. Realized when I started to be aware of something life changing.
But love. I remember it. Very well.
I am her favorite.