Love is… Love

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Whether or not you enjoy or despise Valentine’s Day, I think we can all agree that this overly-commercialized holiday focuses on love. Instead of focusing on the typical flowers, candy, and date nights associated with February 14, I thought it would be fulfilling this year to concentrate on what it’s really about… love.

Love is a powerful emotion that can make or break us. It can lift us up and it can beat us down. It is the ultimate experience that can take us from one extreme to the other. And the truth is that no matter where we come from, whom we choose to love or even how we express it, love is deeply personal.

I’ve asked some of my family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers to describe for me what love means to them. Their unique thoughts and perspectives have made me laugh and made me cry.

But the beauty of their words, for me, is seeing how love really does have the ability to unify us. Love is the one thing we all desire. While we all come from different backgrounds, it is easy to relate to the feelings described below. Reading their ideas and thoughts about love make me feel closer to them, and it makes this great, big world feel a bit smaller.

Two school-aged sisters:

Love is a magical dove flying through the sky who delivers hearts to everyone and makes them happy. Love is my mom picking me up from the bus stop.

Love is hugs from my mom. Love is kisses from my dog and morning beach walks with my dad. Love is playing outside with my little sister and making up our own games.

A daughter who has just experienced the loss of her beloved father:

Love of my father has become feeling his presence watching over me and guiding me through my life as I raise my boys and become my mother’s caregiver.

A mother-to-be:

Love is caring deeply for and worrying constantly about someone that you have never met. It’s a fine line between an exciting dream and an anxious reality. I can’t wait to see how this feeling of love changes when the little one is in my arms!

A wife of 36 years:

Thirty six years lowering toilet seats, attending the occasional chick flick, opening my car door, picking up take-out, and, when I cook, washing dishes. Thirty six years having my back, being my driver, funding my passions and being my greatest champion. Thirty six years believing in me. Thirty six years enduring raging hormones, deepening wrinkles, crankiness, mood swings, and diet crazes. Thirty six years sharing the loves of our lives, and watching them become the incredible adults they have become. Sharing the birth of our newest miracle, our first grandchild. Thirty six years weathering life’s sorrows and coping with disagreements that almost always end holding hands during Sunday morning sermons. Thirty six years loving life. Thirty six years being best friends. Thirty six years making me yearn for 36 more. That’s love!

A wife describes her wife:

Love in my life…has been surprisingly easy. That seems weird to say, especially because it has been such a fight. A fight personally to accept myself, a fight to let go of needing acceptance from others, and a fight to be accepted socially and legally.

With all of the the trials and triumphs, I have found the easiest part being the love part. The love within my family, the love within friends who feel like family, the love within our marriage, and the love within myself. It is not a finite thing; having it, giving it, it just abides more. It becomes endless. It’s not judgmental or quantifiable…love is just glorious love.

A wife describes her husband:

Love of my husband has blossomed from quickly becoming my best friend and confidant, to the love of my life to the father of my children.  My love for him grows daily as I watch him care for our two boys.

A wife and mother:

Love is a container for all of it: the funny, the sad, the sexy, the gross, the mundane, the exciting. Love is embracing all these things together.  Love is changing your wife’s nasty c-section bandage yet still thinking she looks cute in a bathing suit. Love is asking yourself, “what do I need right now?” and then letting the other person know so they don’t have to guess wrong and feel like a jerk. Love is asking the person, “What do you need right now?” and then actually delivering on the answer, even if it’s something you really don’t want to do, like give a foot rub.

Love is not holding grudges. Love is making mistakes without blaming anyone, because you are on the same team. Love is moving on.

Love is emptying the dishwasher and not leaving the gas tank in the car on “E.” Love is saying “Hey, I got this,” or “You’ve got this, you can do this,” or “We’ve got this, we are going to be ok.”

Love is curling up behind him on the couch to watch football even though you could care less about football. Love is letting the other person know that when you are driving and your wedding song comes on the radio, you cry.

Love is remembering that we are all little kids in desperate need for a hug. Love is a quest for gentleness – digging down past the hurt and anger and annoyance until you find the softness. Love is treating each other – and yourself – with tenderness.

A new mother:

Love for my babies is a new kind of all encompassing, infatuating, heartwarming love.  A love that makes me instantly smile when I see their faces, a love that makes my break when I hear them cry and a love that makes me so proud to be their mom.

A perspective on friendship:

Love in my life that comes from my friends is a support network that helps me get through the good times and the bad. Without this type of love from them, I couldn’t be the mom, wife and daughter that I am to all others.

A single momma:

Love is forbidding myself from depression over the past and forbidding anxiety over the future. Love of the now, this very moment as I type, is love of my life as it is. I split custody of my son, and depression will quickly overpower my thoughts without the acceptance of what is done is done.

I’ve been single since I was 24 and at the age of 30, anxiety over the future will quickly overpower my thoughts without the realization that it’s of zero help to worrying whether or not I will find romantic love.

Love of my son and of the woman staring back at me in the mirror is to not be stuck in these two mental prisons but to be completely mindful of this moment. Love is putting aside the realization of the important deadline I missed to give my attention to the “cool new trick” my son is showing me at that moment.

A divorcee turned newlywed:

Love is potential. Love is thanking God that I didn’t give up on love. Love truly is: when you know, you know.

I hope you enjoy reading their thoughts as much as I have. It has been made so crystal clear: no matter who you are, love is love.

Oh, and love is most certainly a magical dove. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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