I spent my Valentine's Day cleaning up vomit and cleaning my house, for the 15th time this week. Of course having two children hit by a stomach virus in one week will incentive a parent to deploy all disinfecting means to make this shit go away, literally, without claiming the large humans. Because as any parent knows, the only thing worse than taking care of a sick child is doing it while you yourself are sick.
I also had the privilege of spending my Valentine's Day assisting a wonderful couple in finding their new dream home on a day whose weather quickly dissolved into hazardous road conditions.
But to me, that is what love is. It is cleaning up vomit and scheduling tours of homes to make sure everyone is home before the dangerous weather your clients weren't even aware of...hits. It is making a relatively healthy dinner for your kids when feeding them a bag of Oreos would be so much easier and make everyone happier, but not healthier.
So my dear readers, I will take a stab at how I define love and I invite you to return this kind of love to those who need it so desperately in this life, whether they are those closest to you or those who currently are the most foreign. And let's not wait for Valentine's Day to show others that we love them as we all need it, year round.
- installing a whole house humidifier on a 10 year old furnace, after years of filling a portable one from the tub faucet
- changing and laundering vomit covered sheets at 2:30, 3:45, & 5:07am
- caging tomato plants to protect tomatoes you will never eat
- wiping noses, tears, bottoms, etc.
- holding vigil at a hospital bed for hours and days at a time
- changing diapers, infant and adult
- brushing the teeth of tantruming children
- spending your own money on needed classroom supplies
- donating organs
- finding a new pair of my favorite 5 year old Levi jeans on ebay
- stopping to help change a stranger's flat tire
- helping a laboring mother breathe through natural childbirth, giving her the time and terms she needs
- baking decorated cakes for needy kids whose parents are unable to afford them
- donating a warm winter coat
- serving in a soup kitchen & serving the homeless wherever they are
- reading that last bedtime story when you desperately want your own bed
- shopping for tylenol, humidifiers, cough syrup, milk, bananas, or goldfish at 3am
- playing one more game of Uno
- saying "yes", when everything in you is saying "no"
- saying "no", when it would be so easy to say "yes"
- building the 8th sandcastle
- applying the sunscreen for the 5th time
- holding the hand/leg/arm of a child for a vaccine while staring in their eyes that show disbelief & betrayal
- running behind the bike without training wheels with your hand on the seat
- keeping the epi-pen at the ready, always
- sharing the organic green beans that you raised from seed & canned yourself
- using your powerful voice, when it needs to be heard, when there is nothing in it for you, and you would rather stay silent
- starting and scraping your spouse's car on a cold & snowy winter morning
- programming the coffee pot the night before
- buying my organic half & half because you notice I'm running low
- plugging my phone into the charger when you notice it needs it
- unclogging a slow drain
- cleaning the cat litter, for the 20th time in a row, when it's everybody's cat
- insisting on the extra layer of clothing when the complaining ensues
- providing complimentary child care to weary and worn out parents
- making and taking homemade chicken noodle soup to a sick friend
- replacing the burned out bulb in the left turn signal
- shoveling your neighbor's walk
- serving on the school accreditation committee
- being a shoulder to cry on
- going back for "blankie" when you are already running late
- handing down your children's clothes to little ones not far behind
- putting yourself "out there" when the risk is real and palatable
- ignoring your own discomfort to lessen the discomfort of another
If you find yourself living a life without love expressed in ways similar to the above, but instead only filled with boxes of chocolate and with Kisses that only "begin with Kay", life is going on around you and you should become a part of it.
In my mind Valentine's Day should be renamed, Sacrificial Love Day, but then that wouldn't sell much stuff would it? But then again, as they say, the best things in life are free.