We've been on vacation this week, and we've been staying with Vandals parents at the beach. Watching him with them, how those bonds of love have transcended time and space to pull him back here time and again... Seeing those connections up close, the almost tangible silver threads between the three of them... All those unspoken words of pride, and love, and care for one another; it's so hard to comprehend.
Earlier this week at the zoo, I saw a pair of Jaguars, separated into their own enclosures - but across the way from one another. I saw the desperate hunger in the male of the pair. His growl, his pacing, the agitated twists and curls of his tail. He's never known love, never had a mate of his own, never hunted his prey through the jungle, but he yearns for it. His bones ache with the need of it. His heart knows, even when his mind does not.
That female in the enclosure across the way is the only family he's known... So close, but impossible to obtain.
I saw myself in that jaguar.
Watching Vandal with his family makes me feel like I'm in the enclosure, pacing to and fro. I can see what I need - it's available to me - but something about it is artificial. Manufactured.
Im glad that my daughter gets to know the love of parents. It fills that ache in me... But there's still something that it'll never touch. But today though, I think, that perhaps I've been looking at it all wrong. I might not ever have those threads holding me to the past, but I've found bonds that pull me irrevocably into the future. I sat next to Vandal as he opened his birthday gifts this morning and felt that pull of love between us. The bonds between my daughter and I. The watchful gaze of my loving in laws. Our wonderful dogs around us. And in those moments - I understood the word.
It isn't always something we are given, but it can be something we make for ourselves.