I thought I knew what love was at 19. Well, truth be told, I thought I knew what love was in sixth grade, when Russell Harrison handed me a crumpled piece of paper as the bell rang to go home. I sat on the rigid, putrid-green vinyl seat of the bus, unfolding the wide-ruled, blue-lined, white paper, ripped fresh from the notebook, and read, “I don’t want to go with you anymore.” I’m sure there were a lot more words than that, but that’s all I remember. I felt like I had just lost a piece of me.
At 19, I met my husband, Brooklin. When you’re 19, you have the audacity to think you know everything, and the tenacity to pretend you do. I knew a lot back then, sure, but there’s something to be said about “with age comes wisdom.” I thought I knew what love was when I met Brooklin.
And then, life happens. Life beyond the, “What should we eat for dinner? Guess what happened at work today? Let’s move to Colorado” kind of life stuff, but the tragic, my sister died, kind of life stuff, and the joyous, “We’re having a baby” life stuff. Highest of highs, lowest of lows. It’s in those fleeting moments when you can’t see straight through the tears, can’t even fathom getting out of bed, when your husband has to help you brush your teeth, when he tenderly cuddles your newborn for the first time … that’s when you realize what true love is.
“It’s in those fleeting moments when you can’t see straight through the tears, can’t even fathom getting out of bed, when your husband has to help you brush your teeth, when he tenderly cuddles your newborn for the first time … that’s when you realize what true love is.”
Photo: Melissa Rosenstock family archives
“But it is in his softest moments, his most vulnerable, when I love him the most.”
Brooklin has been the rock, the warrior. But it is in his softest moments, his most vulnerable, when I love him the most. There is something about creating a human with someone that brings a whole new level of love and awe. Now you are responsible for not only yourself, but a tiny, defenseless being who now rules your world, and you succumb to this new dictatorship. Oh, the power of this tiny human.
Laying in the hospital bed after I gave birth to my daughter, emotions (and body parts) raw, I watched my husband (whom she looks so much like) laying on the couch with her clutched to his chest, kissing her soft, pink skin, I realized what love looks like. When my three-year-old woke in the middle of the night soaked in vomit and I watched my husband hold our son’s little head and rub his back—yes, that makes him a great father and grows the love I have for him exponentially.
When we were told we were expecting a child, Brooklin always said he was most looking forward to “warping the kid’s mind” with whatever he wanted them to believe. (That’s his sense of humor, to which I have become used to rolling my eyes.) Now that we have two kids and are several years into parenting, it’s abundantly clear that it is his mind, actually, that has been “warped” by them and their love, in the most beautiful, heartfelt, and fulfilling way.