As the big day for romance approaches I am filled with love. It has been said that we are only able to fully love when we acknowledge that the world is a terrible place. It is. And yet…we have chemistry on our side. Oxytocin, the so-called cuddle chemical (L. Phillips) fills me as I write this from my firelit room in freezing Michigan, far away from the sunny little one who caused this physical reaction.
This is Owen. No matter the distance, my love for him persists.
I’m a fortunate person. All my life I have had one goal: to be a good wife and mother. And while I have not always met my own expectations, in fact, have often failed, I am grateful to have lived to see both my children grown and beloved and happy. Recently, I have also found my own hard-won happiness. For the first time in my life, I am putting myself first. I love my family. Visiting my son, his wife, and my grandson makes that love feel very immediate. So I have many reasons to feel fortunate, although they all come down to one thing: love.
A friend gave me the picture frame above. Family is Everything. Is that true? Certainly I’ve lived my life as if it were. But what about friendship? I really love my friends. And I feel such compassion for all the lonely people without family or a beloved or a best friend. Because their circumstances leave them without close connections, are they nothing? Do they deserve nothing? I think they deserve everything. Love is everything and everyone deserves it. Unless they, you know, rape and pillage and so forth. Those people, I don’t know. They probably never got enough love. Or they were born defective, without empathy, which is the definition of a psychopath.
I don’t really like to talk about my family and psychopaths in the same post. It’s an unfortunate and uncomfortable truth: the world can be such a sad, bad place but also full of joy and wonder.
This weekend we have official permission to dwell on love. I measure life a success if you have happiness and love. The two seem to me to be twins, mirroring each other, shining like glitter on fresh snow. But ah, there’s the catch: snow is cold and icy and so too is a life without love, or a life that is lived loving someone who will never return your feelings.
Unrequited love is much on my mind as we come to Cupid’s special day. I think of all the sad lovers, the unhappy lovers, the unrequited lovers in the world. For so many people, this weekend is going to be full of tears. I have been in that place. Is there anyone who has not?
If you came to this page because you’re alone on a day when it hurts more than usual, I can tell you again: love yourself first. Love can transform itself. You can love someone without them returning that love and it is still good to feel that love inside yourself. Turn it around and give it to yourself. It feels a little weird at first but it works, I swear it does.
You can be alone with a box of chocolates and love yourself, not by eating the box empty, but by feeling that love you have for another as a good thing. Let it expand and fall back upon your own self. Love is why we are here: to love ourselves well and to love others. Feel love, send love, speak love. Even if you are sad and alone and have the flu. I in fact have the flu at this moment and perhaps that is why this post seems a little effusive. The DayQuil made me do it!
Love yourself well. Take rest and allow your heart to heal if it is broken or bruised or heavy.
Like attracts like and if you let love reside without prejudice, it will return to you. You will be loved. Love is not what you think it is. It is not always hearts and flowers and that sweet rush of pure junkie joy that comes from the new. We get addicted to the high of new love like we get addicted to chocolate and grandchildren. After my time with Owen, I wanted someone to make me a perfume that smelled like him: milk and baby lotion and that special Owen-ness.
Sometimes love can be quiet and strong and giving. Give love freely even when it flies right out the window, right past the heart you aim it at. Love anyway. If you are broken, let love heal your heart. And if you have the flu, take two NyQuil and call me in the morning.