You think you know what love is. You've read all the classic books, watched all the romantic films. You've probably felt love in it's many stages, whether it be a slow burning love that takes you by surprise or an instant sweaty palms, flipping stomach kind of love.
If someone asks you, 'What is Love?' you can give an answer. For me, love is knowing you'd always choose the other person over yourself. That they make you feel like your best self simply by being around. It's not the easiest concept to put into words but you could do it.
The kind of love that you can't give an answer to, don't expect and can't explain is the love you have for your child.
To those people that haven't been through it, it's impossible to put into words for them. Everything just suddenly makes sense. You see the world so differently, you see your own parents so differently.
The second they lowered the screen and I looked into my baby's eyes I knew that love at first sight really does exist. With less than a moment passing I knew that she was now my whole world and no one else was ever going to compare.
It's that love that keeps you strong in the early sleepless days, the days filled with cluster feeding and uncertainty about what the crying means. It is that love that sends you shooting across the room when they fall, that fills your heart when they laugh and keeps you sane even on the most difficult days.
Before, I knew my parents loved me. Now I KNOW how much my parents love me. Every single decision they made for me, how they coped with each challenge that being a parent brings, they did it all with love that I wasn't even close to comprehending before I became a parent myself.
I've had a conversation with my mum and I've apologised (something I seem to do a lot of recently) for just not getting it and not realising how much upset I must have caused her every time I told her I hated her, or didn't listen, or made a decision that hurt her feelings.
I keep thinking about my GCSE results day. Mum had asked me to get my results and bring them back to the car so we could open them together. When I got to the desk and picked up my envelope all my friends were there and had opened theirs so without a second thought I opened mine too and celebrated with them. I eventually remembered my mum waiting in the car and went back to see her. I don't know if she remembers but she looked so hurt. Of course, my sixteen year old self made some obnoxious comment but when I think about it now it makes me so upset that I took that moment away from her. Because now I understand how that would feel.
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can't replicate the love you have for your children? I've been told that each child that's yours stems a unique and different kind of love but it's still nowhere near the love you might have for a husband, wife, friend or lover.
It is impossible to see the flaws in your children, the phrase, 'No love like a mother's love,' is cliche because it's true. Your baby could be the worst, ill mannered, ugliest baby in the whole world but you wouldn't see that. You'd only see a physical manifestation of your heart walking around.
That's what she has become, my heart, out there for the whole world to see.
I love every single thing about her. I love her gummy smile, I love the way she gets excited when she hears Leigh is home from work, I love her peaceful face when she sleeps and how she loves to go outside in the pram. I love the way her face wrinkles when the sun hits it, and how tentative she is when touching something new. I love her confidence and smiles when she sees new people and how ticklish her armpits and just under her ribs are.
My favourite time of day is when I'm putting her to bed. She's usually fast asleep from her last milk feed and I'm just about to put her down in her cot. I always give her a little extra squeeze and whisper I love you and I marvel that she is mine. That we are lucky enough to have her in our lives and that she will always have me and Leigh to protect and guide her. We made this person together and she is perfect.
I keep thinking about how Rosie is going to be when she's grown up. How she is going to have lots of her own experiences of love and how I'm going to try and protect her and be the constant love that she looks for when relationships inevitably go wrong.
But she won't ever know how much I love her until she has children herself. Then one day I might get a call from her and she might say, 'Mum I get it.'