"All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love."
Today is Valentine's Day. A Hallmark holiday. A day to swim in sugary pinks and reds. A day to celebrate love.
But what is love?
We spend so much time uttering this word, but how many of us really know what it means? Is it even possible to know what love is? Is it different for each of us, a unique lens through which we glimpse the world? Is there an essence underlying our wishes and words and wanderings? Is love a fiction we create and cling to, a story we spin to sate our souls?
I am not a big Valentine's Day person. I am happy to eat chocolate and help the girls craft cards. Husband and I, per tradition, will (if we aren't too lazy) whip up some fondue and eat it together (yes, while watching The Bachelor). That will be it.
But I am a big love person. And maybe that sounds funny, but I'll risk that it does. I believe in love. I don't pretend to understand what it is, but I know that I feel it. I know that it is here, today and every other day. Rooted in my beating heart and dancing head. Love informs who I am, the questions I ask, what I understand.
This? This is the Valentine Toddler made at Preschool. It is hanging on the big bulletin board outside her classroom. Last week, Baby and I waited in the hallway for school to end. And I showed Baby the card and read her Toddler's words: On Valentine's Day, I want to give kisses to my little sister!
I read Baby these words and her eyes lit up. An enormous smile overtook her little face. Mommy, I just love kisses! she crooned.
This? This is love.
I do not pretend to know what love is, but I do know that it is everything.
Happy Valentine's Day. How do you plan to celebrate this holiday? What is love? Is it something that can be defined, or only felt? Do you believe love is everything or is that statement overly simplistic, lacking in nuance?