It’s that time of year when love is in the air… and on greeting cards, ice cream cakes, heart shaped candy, Facebook status updates, and well, you get the point. Typically when we think of Valentine’s Day, our minds drift to thoughts of romantic love. Pretty recently, I found myself giggling about some V-Day episodes of the past and how caught up I was in giving and receiving the perfect expression of love from my designated paramour. Thankfully, I’ve matured and my expectations have changed, and for that matter, so have my definitions of love.
As a mother, I have become well acquainted with that agape love – you know; it’s all selfless and humbling, also known as unconditional love. It’s about putting another person’s well-being before your own. And there is nothing that the object of such love could do that would make you love him or her any less. My thoughts: your kids will often test that theory. At the very least, they make you realize there are things you would do for them (and tolerate) that you couldn’t imagine doing for (or tolerating from) anyone else.
So, in the spirit of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee?”, I’ve decided to recount some of the (funny and sometimes gross) ways I’ve shown my love for my daughter.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
Of projectile vomit, which I once caught in my hands, no trash can in sight
For the ends of birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese
I love thee to the level of risking disease
Most quiet need, by moon and Nintendo DS lite
I love thee freely, and give you my last bite
I love thee purely, no judgment, no shame
I love thee with a passion, like your favorite movie on a 24 hour loop
Even after you almost set my bathroom aflame
I love thee with a love more than my coveted collection of shoes
With my lost sleep and waistline, — I loved thee from your very first breath,
Smiles, tears of all my life! – and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee even when you come into my room
In the middle of the night, stand over me and scare me half to death.
Seriously, if love is a verb, not a noun, an act rather than a feeling, my daughter has taught me so much – about sharing, giving without expecting anything in return, and truly caring about the happiness of someone other than yourself. Every day, she’s teaching me how to be a better friend, a better daughter (although you’d have to confirm that with my mommy), and one day, a better partner in the old romance department.
And so, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes about love, for which I now have an even greater appreciation…
“Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it. I saw you and made up my mind.” – Toni Morrison