Recently, one of my children (the tactful one) walked into the kitchen and said the words every person wants to hear when cooking:
“Ew, what’s that smell?”
“That’s the dressing I’m making for dinner.”
“Why are you making that?”
“Because it’s healthy for you and I love you.”
“It still kind of stinks.”
“That’s right, baby, it stinks like love.”
Real love is not found on the shelves of Hallmark or in a florist shop. It’s not as pretty as a Valentine’s card. Real love is something different:
- It’s the days and weeks and months after happily ever after.
- It’s poopy diapers and nursing at 3 AM.
- It’s tearing up at school programs.
- It’s heart-pumping, adrenaline-inducing protectiveness.
- It’s putting the needs of others ahead of your own.
- It’s knowing when to put your needs first.
- It’s taking care of your health because you need strong arms to carry children, strong legs to run to them fast enough, and a strong body so you can walk with them through life as long as possible. (All things much more motivating than the size of your jeans.)
- It’s waiting in doctor’s offices and shots and lollipops.
- It’s “you’ll thank me for this later,” and “I’m doing this because I love you.”
- It’s lying in bed at night thinking I could have done better.
- It’s getting up the next morning and actually doing better.
- It’s nasty tasting medicine.
- It’s going to work every day.
- It’s cooking dinner when the call of the drive thru is so enticing. (It’s also occasionally answering that call!)
- It’s reading.
- It’s imagination gone wild at mysterious medical symptoms.
- It’s finding the news frightening to watch now that it’s their world too.
- It’s accepting bad habits, weaknesses, and quirkiness.
- It’s apologizing more and judging less.
- It’s back scratches.
- It’s that roller coaster feeling in your stomach.
- It’s second-guessing and guilt and frustration.
- It’s communicating with just a look.
- It’s listening.
- It’s chaos.
- It’s peace.
May your Valentine’s Day be filled with more chocolate than stinky salad dressing. And may your lives continue to stink like love.