When we were expecting our first child I knew there would be many surprises and gifts that we would experience along the way.  But two amazing gifts never occurred to me and they are my two favorite.

Along with our first child, Michael, came our very first experience of that truly amazing, unconditional, overwhelming, take your breath away love.  You parents know what I am talking about… this love that there will never be enough words to describe.   A love that one must experience to even know of its existence.  The instant when you feel this love, your heart is forever changed.  Well, having now experienced this love.  I see my own parents’ love through this lens.   I had never doubted their love, mind you.  But I had no idea it was this kind of love.

The second gift came with the birth of our second child, David.  As David’s birth approached we did all the things people talk about to help Michael adjust to the new baby.  At the hospital we were careful not to have the baby in my arms when Michael first saw him and had a gift for Mikey from the new baby.  Michael walked into that hospital room two and half years old with flowers for his mom which he very distractedly handed off along with an obligatory hug.  When his eyes finally found his brother in the room his face lit up and he ran to him saying, “There you are, brother. I have been waiting forever to meet you.”  Later we were on our way home from the hospital and just pulling out of the parking lot when David started to scream. In his car seat next to him, Mikey reaches over and grabs his hand and says, “Don’t worry brother, big brother Mikey is here.”  They road home hand-in-hand for a long time.   They have been pretty inseparable ever since. Even opting to sleep in one room together when two were available.

This second gift is even more apparent now that Nicholas has joined our family.  Nick joined us December of 2009.  Mike and Dave were seven and five and those ages put them in an even better position to bestow brotherly love and guidance.  They have done an incredible job at welcoming him into the family, spoiling him with affection, and helping him, each other, and us as we all expand our family life to accommodate the new addition.  From the very first week watching these three brothers nurture and develop their relationship has been an incredible gift.  They each have a unique and special relationship and way with each other.  It is not just the big boys; Nick is fully engaged in this process too.  If you watch him when one of his brothers comes up to him you can completely see the immediate difference in Nick’s demeanor and behavior.

They are brothers. There own little special group and family.  I can see how they will make it through their childhoods together as the Covine boys and our children.  I can see how they are forming a family unit that is just theirs and that will continue on into the future beyond this household, beyond Tony and me.  Bearing witness to this brotherly love at its most pure time (before too many things alter it in the growing and living process) as it builds a lifetime of family ahead of all of us. I can only describe this as Holy Moments.  These Holy Moments give me strength and motivation.  They help me attack the dirt, laundry and dishes that come with these boys.  Helps me dig my heals in while we weather the various storms life throws our way.  Helps me strive to not lose my temper when they fight for the millionth time about whose turn it is to choose the movie or feed the dog.

When we are in one of those Holy Moments my heart is full of hope and bursting with love and pride.  It is at these moments my head again will ask…“how many generations do you think it would take to eradicate hate?” What if we could just get a greater and greater amount of children to adulthood having had their basic needs met while having encountered enough love, compassion and guidance to believe in their own worth and the worth of others?  Like I always say… A girl can dream.

So now that I have shared, I want to hear from you…what is your favorite gift that parenthood or family has brought you?

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