I’m with Cupid

     Valentine’s Day falls in the middle of winter, just in time to warm my heart. This silly little Hallmark holiday has been a favorite of mine since grammar school. I enjoyed writing out valentine cards for all my classmates. I spent lots of time picking out the best one from the pack of 25 to give to that extra special someone to let them know them I thought they were extra special. “Be Mine” sounded too possessive. “You’re a Q T” didn’t sound flattering. “I Like Q 2” was more my speed.
     As a writer, poet and artist, love is always at the forefront of my thoughts. From my experience, I’ve learned there are many kinds of love. The love I received from my parents as a child set the foundation for the rest of my life. Unconditional love that I knew would be there no matter what. A powerful bond that can never be unbroken. Not only the love my parents had for me, but the love I had for them. Everyone needs a safe haven in the world, and when you’re starting out in life, parental love is a safe harbor in the perfect storm of life. The boundaries of that love can be tested and stretched right up to the breaking point, but parental love is resilient, able to withstand anything.
     Teen-age love is even more intense than parental love. It’s a rush of color to your cheeks and a feeling in the pit of your stomach when you find yourself in the presence of the right person. It’s that chemical reaction that you have no control over.   All of your feelings are magnified during your teenage years, the highs are higher, the lows are lower. As your body and emotions are changing, emotions are felt at a much more intense level. First love runs deep. It’s a tidal wave, all-encompassing, to the point of recklessness. You say things and do things without regard of consequences. Unfortunately, the pain you feel is magnified as well.   No wonder our first loves are so deeply embedded in our memories, those feelings are always there, just a whisper away.
True love happens when connect with a person you on a deeper level than you ever thought was possible. When you think to yourself, “Yeah. I could spend the rest of my life with this person and be happy every day, just being with them. Forever.” It’s a daunting feeling not everyone in life experiences. And these days, forever isn’t always forever. People change over time, but those changes are just part of an evolving relationship. Love isn’t stagnant, but it shouldn’t feel like work. It should be easy, you know, like Sunday morning, as the song says. True love comes naturally, without thinking. If you are lucky enough to marry your soulmate, marriage can be a magical intertwining of two souls, transcending time and space, outlasting eternity.
     Being blessed with children takes love to a whole new level. There’s something proud and primal watching a person you helped create live and grow. It not only touches your heart, it fills your heart beyond capacity. You are now connected to a human being who is a part of you. You understand their feelings, feel their pain and elate in their triumphs. You will do anything to protect them from hurt and keep them from harm.
     A deeper love evolves when you are together with someone for many decades. When you share a lifetime with someone you love, they become a part of you. Your “other half” seems almost derogatory in today’s social climate. It’s more like two whole beings complementing each other and creating one entity working toward a common goal. It’s hard to express in words. Maybe words alone aren’t enough to capture feelings so deep.
     And now that my grandchildren have arrived, my level of love has rocketed through the stratosphere. It is pure joy just looking at the faces of these little souls who have been sent from somewhere in the cosmos into the orbit of my life. I look in their eyes and see tiny hints of relatives who have passed. In their eyes I also see the future, and I wonder what wonders their lives will hold. My grandchildren are ages three and one-and-a-half. When I have each of them bouncing on my knee, and they are laughing and smiling, I can’t imagine my life getting any better. Until out of nowhere, my granddaughter, Eliana, turns to me and says, “I love you.” I am overcome with emotion. My heart is ready to burst as a tear forms in the corner of my eye. I say “I love you” back to her. But it’s more than love I’m feeling at that moment. It’s whatever is on the scale above love. Once again, there are no words to describe how I feel, and as a writer, that poses quite a challenge.
     On Valentine’s Day, take time to show someone you love them in whatever way works for you. Deeply. Casually. Peripherally. Platonically. Love exists in many forms. It may be hidden in the background or staring you right in the face and you might not even know it. All you have to do is open your heart. You might be surprised at the results. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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