Real love is the kind we are surrounded by every day
Chances are you’ve got love, or something like it, on your mind. After all, it’s Valentine’s Day.
Did you buy roses? You need to buy roses. And a card covered with sentimental poetry written by a stranger.
Don’t forget the chocolate, the expensive perfume, something from Victoria’s Secret, a gourmet meal at a five-star restaurant and jewelry. Isn’t that what it takes to show love? Well, one day a year, maybe. But it’s the other 364 days that tell the tale.
The truth is, love doesn’t always come with balloons and words that rhyme. True love usually comes to us just like the groceries – mixed with the necessities and wrapped in plain brown paper.
Love is spread between the peanut butter and jelly in a school lunch sandwich and folded into baskets of clean laundry.
It is carried in a soft look at the end of a hard day and the gentle sound of your name on another’s lips.
Love is scrambled into eggs for a quick supper on a hectic night and sweetens a cup of coffee brought to you before you get out of bed on a cold morning.
Real love isn’t just tender whispers in the dark. It’s pillow talk about unreliable cars, failing hot water heaters, thinning hair, expanding waistlines, ominous medical tests and parent-teacher conferences.
Love is the glue that holds us together and the fuel that drives us to work, piano practice, dentist appointments and soccer games.
Love is the smell of a newborn baby. Love is the sound of a sullen “goodnight” muttered by a teenager who, only moments before, expressed a keen desire to become an orphan.
Love is when you tell the one you chose, “I’m scared,” and they hold your hand. For as long as you need it.
Real love is letting someone hold your hand.
Sometimes love is only visible, like the growth rings in a tree, when we’ve been cut and left with an open wound. And love is the bandage that binds our wounds and helps us heal.
Real love has very little to do with the candy and cards we buy and give once a year. It isn’t in romantic music and movies.
For most of us, love is hidden in the shadows of an ordinary life, when you open your eyes in the cold, gray light of morning and make the choice to stick it out one more day.
Most of us learn to take love where we find it. And when we look, really look, past all the frills and fuss of a made-for-retail holiday, it’s all around us.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at email@example.com