Then there’s the love that makes it possible to walk that same baby through the house through the fourth straight hour of fussing and crying. That’s love with teeth.
Love is when you stay married to your partner in spite of all his annoying habits.
Love with teeth is when you never let those annoying habits grow large in your mind and heart.
Love is when you make the decision to breastfeed your new baby because you want to give him the best possible start.
Love with teeth is when you discover that breastfeeding your baby feels like you’ve got a staple gun having its way with your nipples and you keep nursing that baby anyway.
Love is when you tell a breastfeeding friend who is in pain that it will get easier, that she’s doing great, that it will all be OK.
Love with teeth is when you hold her hand at 4 am and tell her that it will get easier, that she’s doing great, that it will all be OK.
Lots of siblings adore each other when they are small.
Extraordinary siblings are still best friends when they’re teenagers.
Love is when you get a new stepmom and you accept her from the start.
Love with teeth is when your stepmom is utterly lousy at fulfilling the role and you keep forgiving her and letting her try again. And again. And again.
Love is when you work your ass off trying to hold a troubled marriage together because a divorce will change your kids’ lives forever.
Love with teeth is when you stay in that marriage for one last year after it dies because your daughter is a rabid mama’s girl and she needs that time living with both parents to bond with her dad.
Love with fangs is when, a dozen years later, your daughter wants to go live with her dad and even though it breaks your heart, you let her go because that is what she says she needs to be happy.
Love is when you’re willing to be a friend’s birth assistant because her partner’s culture forbids his participation.
Love with teeth is when you’re still willing to be her birth partner at the 44th, the 52nd, then the 65th hour of labor and she has turned mean.
Love is when you feel guilty about bullying that weird, shy girl when you were both in 6th grade.
Love with teeth is when you go find that girl and pour your heart into writing the best, most sincere apology letter possible.
There’s the love you feel when you see some pretty flowers and, inspired by sweet memories, buy some for your grandma.
Love is when, just a few weeks before her wedding, your granddaughter’s fiancée breaks up with her and the rest of the family is complaining about the trouble caused by non-refundable plane tickets and gifts that need to be returned, and you send flowers and a card.
There’s the love you feel for your children because of who they are and what they do.
No love that is real is ever easy.
Sometimes, love with teeth holds on with all its might and refuses to let go no matter how tired and tattered it gets.
Sometimes, love with teeth screams and wails and resists, but it releases.
Love is when you have a friend and you enjoy her company.
Love is when you find a partner you want to live with forever.
Love with teeth is when you find a partner you can’t imagine living without.
Love is when you work hard to hold your family together, to make sure your children have everything they need to grow up safe and strong and healthy.
Love with teeth is when you do all that in the heart of the dust bowl.
Loving yourself means eating well, getting a pedicure or a massage, making sure you get enough sleep.
Love with teeth means you never let anyone (including yourself), any time, ever, treat you like you’re anything less than a divine creature, apple of the creator’s own eye, son or daughter of God.