Let me start with a story:
We have lots of pictures in our house. I'll be honest, most of them are of Matt, me and the baby. We love our family, but we haven't (for whatever reason) put up pictures of family members yet. But pics of our Kelsey clan are abundant. Every day, a few times a day, Matt and I will carry Toph around the house, put our index finger on the picture, and name the people in the family. Dad-dy, Ma-ma, Toph. Over and over again. The kicker is that Toph drinks it in; smiling and looking, looking and studying, the whole time, smiling.
Fast forward to Tuesday night. It's been so cold here that our heater can't keep up; we've been mostly camping in the master bedroom at night because we have a space heater that keeps the room toasty. The master bathroom is adjacent to the bedroom and that night all three of us were in there, preparing for Toph's bath. Now, our shower in the master bathroom is broken. One of the tiles cracked so we quit using it and instead, store Toph's infant bathtub in the shower stall. Klassy, I know.
Toph really isn't allowed behind the curtain. There are loose tile back there and moulding from the time Matt tried to fix it. I blame the cat for Toph's discovery for the curtain; for the longest time he ignored it, that is, until he saw Pippen emerge from behind there. Tuesday night Toph pulled back the curtain and saw the box which contained his bathtub. On the box were pictures of mamas and daddies giving their babies baths. Toph had never seen these pictures, but as he looked, he stuck out his pointer finger and touched the daddy and said, "Dada!" He then touched the mamas and said "Da!" (Apparently, this is what he says when he sees mama, even though he calls me mama all the time...)
He did this repeatedly while Matt and I stood in shock. I experienced two types of reactions; physical and chemical. Physically; I cried, I clapped, I praised. Chemically; something else happened. My throat started to burn, my stomach felt really warm and my breath became short. I felt as if I would burst. I couldn't explain what was happening; me, the verbal one, couldn't put it into words. In retrospect, I felt love in it's most intense form and for a second, I wondered if I could stand it.
Fast forward to the next day, when I read a blog (The Daddy Complex) who referred me to another blog post (ASD) who essentially put into words what I couldn't the previous day. I really want you to read the whole blog, which is why I'm linking it here, but I'm going to put part of the blog in quotations for you to read here:
"For about a decade I didn’t eat horseradish. My mother served it to my sister and I when we were kids, but I never touched the stuff after I left the nest. It wasn’t that I disliked it, but I’m not much of a condiment man and never felt the need to slather it onto to anything.
Fast-forward to my late twenties, when The Queen and I were visiting some friends. I had just finished telling a story and The Queen had launched into one, so I grabbed something to snack on from a nearby plate of appetizers. All of the food that I liked had already been eaten (undoubtedly by me), so I took one of the salmon fillets. And because I wasn’t wild about fish, I decided to mask the taste by loading it up with the accompanying horseradish.
I realized it was horseradish that I was putting on my salmon, and I remembered that horseradish was hot. But there were two other factors in play. First, when you get older you often find that the foods you thought were unbearably spicy as a kid are actually rather bland, so I was compensating accordingly. Second, my friends had served us straight horseradish, My mother always given us prepared horseradish, and I was unaware that it came in any other form. Consequentially, I shoved a horrific amount of the stuff into my mouth and started chewing.
At first it wasn’t so bad: just the mildly hot flavor that I remembered from my childhood. But then, at some point, I realized that it was getting hotter, and hotter, and hotter. I stopped chewing. I let my mouth hang open. Suddenly the heat doubled, and doubled again. By this point I wasn’t even able do the comical “HA-HA-HAAAA!” hand-waving-in-front-of-the-mouth routine — the horseradish was so hot that I was paralyzed, sitting there ossified while my friends laughed at the conclusion to The Queen’s story.
As the feeling continued to grow I began to seriously wonder: can I die from this? Can this become so overwhelming that my body goes into shock, and I’ll just slump sidewise and perish from the sheer enormity of the sensation?
I’ve been thinking about this story a lot lately, because I have begun to wonder the same thing about my love for The Squirrelly."
How fortuitous that I was able to read this blog. It sums up perfectly this love I feel for Toph; a panicky, joyous, can't-get-enough-of-it love that fills your entire being and makes your soul expand. Yes, I will often wonder, "Can I die from this?"
However, immediately after, I wonder, "How did I live without this?"