You know how it goes. Someone will ask, “Do you believe in love at first sight?” And then there’s a debate. Is it truly possible? Can it happen? Is it real love or just lust or desire? Should it be called “attraction at first sight” instead?
I haven’t always believed in “love at first sight.” Most of my life I thought it was ridiculous and unrealistic. I would watch Disney princess movies or rom-coms and I couldn’t wrap my mind around the concept of loving someone after only seeing them once.
How can you if you barely know anything about them? One glimpse can’t tell you their name or show you the exact shade of their eyes. One look can’t reveal their biggest dreams or indicate the way they chew their food.
It just didn’t seem possible.
But then something happened that made me change my mind: I met a boy.
When I gazed upon his face, I was immediately smitten. I was wholly devoted to him I fell in love in an instant and my answer to “Do you believe in love at first sight?” was thrust upside down. I now know that love at first sight is possible.
Now before you get all moany, groany over a gushy-mushy love story, let me clarify. This is not some boy I fell in love with during a whirlwind summer romance. I don’t sit and think about this boy with a daydreamy look on my face. This isn’t a boy I would do anything to marry. It’s not that kind of love. He’s not that kind of boy.
This boy is my nephew.
When I first laid eyes on that tiny, chubby-cheeked, blue-eyed baby, it was insta-love for me. I fell in love with that little boy the first moment I saw him in his hospital cradle being pushed down the hallway of the maternity ward into a new room. I fell in love when I saw that crop of dark hair puffing from the top of his head. I fell in love when I looked down at his swaddled form and squishy cheeks.
Since my nephew was born, I’ve fallen in love at first sight over a lot of things. I fall in love with space every time I look up at the night sky. I fall in love with the first snowfall of the year and the warmth of a spring day. I fall in love with moments of joy and laughter. With new words and new reasons to live. With lines of writing or the first bite of food. With the feeling of camaraderie and the sense of belonging.
I think the whole “love at first sight” can be true. I believe it can happen. It might not be with a romantic partner like we see in a movie or read about in a book. It’s not the kind of love you want to base your marriage on. That kind of love takes time, commitment, hard work, and trust.
But I believe that love at first sight is possible in other forms of love, other forms of emotions that can happen in a blink, a glimpse, a single moment that can certainly conjure awe-inspiring feelings.
Like the love for a little boy who is cute and hilarious and entertaining. Or for the prettiest book in a bookstore. Or for something you witness in nature: a sunset over the Grand Canyon, a galaxy-filled sky of stars, a rainbow stretching above the rain-soaked world.
When you witness something that tugs at your heartstrings, you can fall a little bit in love with that moment or a person. It is possible. Maybe it’s not what you would initially think or believe, but it can happen in some small way every single day.
Maybe “love” isn’t the right word for it after all.