I never really understood the need of coming home to someone. I always thought that getting home to peace and quiet after a day from hell is what normal people should want. It’s what I wanted; until a few years ago, that is.

Things have changed and now, I can’t wait to get home to him. Tonight, closing up my office and turning off the lights, all I could see was his face. He would be there when I open the door, waiting for me like he is many nights of the week now.

It’s been a crappy day. Or rather, a crappy week. Maybe, month. (Would I sound like a total martyr if I said year?) I can’t wait to get home, to just drop on the couch next to him and wrap my arms around him. Just knowing that the first thing I’ll see when I walk through the front door is his wide smile, the enthusiasm caused just by the fact I’m finally home, to spend time with him, makes everything else just dissolve into nothing. Hell could be breaking out all around me, the world as we know it could be coming to an end, and still, just seeing his face is enough to make me forget everything else.

You know what I’m talking about; all he cares about is that you’re there. That’s all he needs to be happy, just for you to be there, with him.

It doesn’t matter to him if I’m dressed to kill or in my sweats, if my eyeliner is perfect or if my lipstick is the right shade if I’m rich or don’t have two dimes to rub together. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve screwed up and if the rest of my life is in shambles. It doesn’t matter if I can hardly smile, or if my mind is full of problems and issues; because he’ll make me smile and make all my problems go away for a while.

I never thought there would ever be a person on this earth I’d love so much, that would mean so much to me; someone who makes everything else I have to do all day seem meaningless in comparison to him. No amount of time is ever enough, nothing we do together is ever unimportant. Even the little things; sharing a meal, talking about life, and the “hows” and “whys” of what may seem inconsequential to others.

He has the unique ability to make me reassess everything about my choices –past and future–, my belief system, all those firmly placed “never” and “always”. He never ceases to amaze me; the way one word, one tiny question, one insightful explanation, can change my whole outlook on life.

To know, without a single doubt that the love I have for him is mutual and forever. Could anyone ask for more?

He knows that there’s no competition for his place in my heart; he owns it. He knows that come hell or high water, there’s no one on this earth I’ll ever love more. Because there is nothing, and no one, that matters more to me. Because he doesn’t have to share me, my attention or my love with anyone… well, anyone but his brother.

But he’s only six; he has to learn to share. And I love his brother just the same.

Wait, what? You thought I was talking about a grown man? A romantic partner? A lover?

*Pause for hysterical laughter*

No. Here; it’s time I redefine real love for you.

So, for starters, full disclosure. I was never really good with the whole romantic love thing. The “white piquet fence, dog and mini-van in the suburbs” dream was never mine. And kids… well, kids… At 30-something, it still seems something of the far future. It was always as if they felt my fear; they were just as terrified of me as I was of them.

Until God (and my sister and brother-in-law) gave me nephews.

I’m a ridiculously proud aunt of two. There is no love on this earth (except a mother’s) more powerful, more life-altering, more pure and unwavering than that of an aunt. And we’re damn lucky. Because we really do get the best deal. We get to be the comrades and confidants, the best friends, the partners in crime, the children who play and throw fits, who lay on the floor, barefoot with dirty knees, among a battlefield of toys, with hands covered in paint and faces covered in chocolate kisses.

The whole world changes once you look at them for the first time.

Friday night cocktails become chocolate milkshakes, popcorn, and Disney. A day off becomes a trip to the zoo. That ridiculously expensive pair of shoes becomes miniature superheroes and burgers. Animal figures stuck in your hair, a toy car left under the covers of your bed, a dinosaur figurine next to your computer (to keep you company as you work), and children’s bubble bath right there next to your body wash by the tub. And the best part is that you feel that each second of your time is well spent. You know that night, the one you totally wasted 3  hours of your life you’ll never get back because your outing was a bust? Well, I can’t say that any night with my boys was ever a night wasted.

I get two little men my whole world revolves around. My sunshine. The only two people on this earth who can, solely by looking at me, solely by being there, bring a unwaverable smile to my face. Who are -quite literally- my happiness embodied. They make me want to do something for the future, to make this cold, hard world a better place for them. I envy their innocence, I wish they could keep it, that I could obliterate all those “monsters” they are inevitably going to come across, just so I can be sure that they will always be safe, healthy and happy.

Nothing can compare to two huge eyes staring at you in awe, as if you’re flawless as if you’re a superhero with magical powers, as if you know everything and can explain anything as if you can do no wrong. You can fuck up the whole rest of your life, have nothing, and yet, to them, you’re still awesome — and the best. Nothing can compare to the way, just by being close to them, everything else just disappears into thin air.

There is no love on this earth that is purer, more precious, than that of a child. To know that there is such a thing as unconditional mutual love. A feeling that leaves no more room for any other emotion. You see, when you finally get to know what that feels like, it’s the real drug. It’s addictive. It’s the one type of love you want to fill yourself with, give and get in return, forever.

And guess what? It’s the one that can never be taken away.

So, there’s only one type of love that lasts forever. One that is worth everything you give, every day, every investment, one that really redefines you —
The love of a boy.
(Or two in my case)

For both of my little shits.

Author: Nikól Peri

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