One of my favorite recent pictures, from last October, with my parents, on the water. I used the photo on this year’s Valentine card.
I’ve long believed that love – actually, life itself – resides in small things. Yes, roses on Valentine’s Day are nice and weddings can be powerfully moving and the toast at a big birthday celebration carries all kinds of importance. But day by day, hour by hour, we show people that we love them through our smallest acts.
There are three people in the world that I love the most. You may have noticed that I write about two of them less and less (and one of them, almost never, though that’s not a change). Grace and Whit are growing into their own stories, and it feels trickier and trickier to share them here. In this case, I was very curious about what love looks like for them. So I asked them.
Love is when Mum tucks me in at night and listens to me talk about my day. It’s when she stops doing something important to help me when I need it. Love is sacrificing some of the things she loves for us – like going out to dinner with friends or reading by herself. Love is when she thinks of new recipes and makes something new for family dinner. Love is keeping the kitchen stocked. Love is sitting in cold rinks and cheering us on at hockey games (though not too loud). Love is letting us go to sleep away camp even though I know she misses us.
Love is when Mum snuggles with me at bedtime every night. It is when she reads me Harry Potter. When she doesn’t pick up the phone so she can be with me. When she makes us dinner. I know 90% of her life right now is work but the other 10% is caring about us and that is love. She does things that try to make our lives better. Love is driving around the world constantly to get us places. Love is when she goes to the library and picks out lots of books for me to see what I like.
I really enjoyed this exercise. Sometimes the things we think mean the most don’t, and vice versa. Nobody mentioned lunchbox notes, for example, which I write sporadically but not always, and nobody mentioned presents at all. In fact neither of them mentioned things. I recommend asking those you live with or love the most what touches them the most. And then do more of that.
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