Ask Annah: How Can I Possibly Love Another as Much as I did My First?

Annah ElizabethAsk Annah, Family, Loss, Grief, and Healing, ParentingLeave a Comment

Dearest Neighbor,

A question of the ages, spoken by nearly every human that ever walked this earth.

Though the query has been asked in countless ways, they all boil down to one ultimate question: “How do we quantify love?”

“How can I possibly love another as much as I did my first?”

Parents ponder this when thinking about or expecting a second child.

Widows and widowers wonder.

Step children suffer how to love a second parent without minimizing or hurting the feelings of the first.

Pet owners obsess.

[Insert  your whatever.]

People are sometimes a little confused when they read my boys’ nicknames, Fave and Most Fave.

And I have to admit, I struggled with these terms of endearment for a long time, myself, but I came to realize something important about our perception of favorite.

You can have many favorites! I mean favorites for every sort of love or un-love you can think of!

Let me share the backstory. One day my eldest living son was bantering with me. We’d had a rough relationship for years but this one day, his light-hearted sense of humor helped crack  open the ice barrier that had bridged a Grand Canyon-sized  gap between us.

“Come on, admit it,” he taunted me, “I know I’m your favorite.”

“I don’t have favorites,” I returned in my most authentic motherly way.

Finally, after much back and forth I finally had one of those light-bulb moments. “Okay, yes, you are my favorite,” I replied with a chuckle, “for we can have many kinds of favorites.” What I didn’t share with him was that, in that moment, I was thinking he was acting like a favorite jerk (to say it in polite terms.)

When he went away to college (twenty-four hours from home), I purchased him a calendar and wrote inspirational messages throughout. Notes of encouragement around exams, an “I love you” and a heart on Valentine’s Day, and random notes on non-essential days.

On one such trivial day I had written “I love you, Fave” on half a sticky note and stuck it to the page.

I always wondered if he ever used the book, if he saw the messages and, if he did read them, did they make him feel good in some way.

I received the answer to all three of those questions the day I helped him vacate his apartment and saw the yellow piece of paper stuck to his daily reminder board.

Love doesn’t merely conquer all, it divides itself into exponential measures.

When my youngest, whom I fondly refer to as Big Guy because of his poised stature and his gentle ways, overheard the banter with his brother, he later started his own fun by declaring himself my Most Fave.

I must admit that language has been a little tough to navigate in written word, so I try to be mindful that my readers may not know the whole story and I will often use a clarifying statement.

The honest to goodness truth however, Neighbor, is that love cannot be quantified.

Unlike the division process we normally think of, where as division weakens or diminishes something, love’s division actually makes it more powerful.

Love divided is like the symbol Pi, there is no end.

Love knows no boundaries.

Love is limitless because each love is unique and different and special.

You know what that means, right, Neighbor?

It means you can love your Aunt Doris the most for her awesome hugs and Crazy Aunt Sally for her abundant charm.

It means that you can love every person, pet, or plant in equally, yet different, ways.

It means that you can love, love, love until the end of your days.

It also means, if you are willing to open yourself to the possibility that the spirit lives on after death, that love truly transcends all time and space.

Love is infinite, Neighbor.

Go ahead! Love all your favorites with all your might.

I am not only honored to receive your queries, I LOVE answering them! As the saying goes, The only stupid question is the one not asked. Let us know your burning, nagging or curious thoughts! You can leave your question in the comments or email it to us. All questions are considered anonymous.

Until next time, yours in hope, healing, and happiness,

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