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What we don't Need is Another of Those, II


Of all the things that can happen to love, I'll say this: it can definitely be displaced. Offloaded into these freaking adorable, Instagram-ready kids. They're social media gold. Way better than anyone's brunch.

I'm only kind of kidding. Kind of. If we lived in a world that recognized that social media capital should count as wages? I would not be kidding. Or if only I didn't find it ethically complicated to try to monetize my children's social media fame the way that some people transform their dogs into celebrities for the purpose of securing a Petco endorsement.

But yeah. Displacement of love into one's kids. I guess the most common assertion would be that kids give you the capacity to love more, or love more fully. I don't always feel that way. Is there some kind of conservation of the amount of love that one has a capacity for in life? The same way that matter must always be conserved in a physics equation?

Do we only ever have the same amount of love to give, and we are simply more capable of offloading more and more of our self love onto other people as we grow older?

I used to think that I couldn't love anyone as much in the world as I loved Henry. The summer before we brought Grace home, I remember distinctly thinking to myself as we sat out on the dock at my great uncle's beach house: I could not possibly love anyone more than this man next to me.

Sure, okay, quantities are foolish when dealing with this kind of thing. I get that. Or I get the theoretical assertion that such quantification can seem foolish. There's a part of me that suspects thou might prostesteth too much. I love our children more than I love anyone else in the world now. I'm not entirely sure that Henry would disagree.

If he did disagree, I'm not sure he would tell me.

So Grace is the elder and Zachary is the younger. Little Z. He watches Grace move around the house with such happy anticipation, it seems. To him, everything that Grace does -- toddling around, biting things, trying to build with the blocks -- looks enormously entertaining and exciting. As if he knows that he'll get to be doing all these things soon.

What must it look like for the entire world before you to be thrilling and new?

That's another reason why kids have been great: they get me asking these questions that don't seem to have any answers whatsoever. Yes, they scream a lot, and they hoover up food and shit like crazy. But as intellectual exercises, they are not to be beat.

I said to Henry the other night, in a moment of insecurity, "Do you love me the same way you do now that we have the children?"

"More," he said. As if he didn't have to think about it.

"Well does that mean you want another kid?" I asked.

"I'll tell you what, babe," absently running his hand across the back of my head, "I think what we don't need is another of those."

I couldn't sleep for hours that night.