Stinks Like Love

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.