Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, and we often think of it as celebrating romantic love in particular. But love comes in many forms, and can go in many directions. It can be difficult, joyful, painful, overwhelming, profound. Often, it walks hand in hand with loss.
The writers behind these posts show us different facets of love, all beautiful, all different, and a thing to celebrate — even if you think Valentine’s Day is a conspiracy by the Hallmark card company.
Looking past all of the hardships of motherhood, it is also the most fulfilling, the most rewarding and the most loved I have ever been in this life. Each morning, my daughter wakes up… she doesn’t cry, she just lays there and I can feel her. I feel her breathing change. I feel as she starts to reach around for me in the dark and silence. Sometimes I wait to see what she does, but most times I explode with happiness and start hugging and kissing her. I tell her “good morning” and “I love you” a thousand times over, remind her that she is my baby (even though she definitely hasn’t forgotten), turn on the light and watch her as she glows with happiness, smiling her million dollar smile that starts my day off right.
“motherhood emerging,” tea & bannock
A year and four months later, many of the familiar faces from the book party were gathered in the same bar for his memorial service. In classic noir tradition, the August afternoon of the memorial service, it rained heavily. That gloomy day, as thunder and lightning clashed in the sky, we paid tribute to the filmmaker, brother, movie lover, comic book artist, wonderful writer, dancer, sensei, and friend that we all loved. After the crowd finished sharing memories and crying into their cocktails, the storm suddenly stopped and the sun peeked through the clouds as a vivid rainbow crisscrossed the Brooklyn sky. The sentimentalist in me loved it, but I knew in my poisoned heart that noir novelist Jerry Rodriguez would have thought that shit was corny as hell.
The world is scary as hell. Love anyway. We step across enemy lines and embrace those we fear.
When countries around the world eventually started legalising it, Indian politicians were still unable to comprehend the concept. It took them long enough, I honestly don’t know why society is so afraid of love, we’re afraid to fall in love, we’re afraid to admit it, talk about it and we give up on it just as easily. None of us who’ve stood on the sidelines can take credit for this victory. I know I can’t. I didn’t fight that battle because I didn’t know how to. If my contribution was anything, it was to try and fight for it in everyday conversations and support it without being afraid or hesitant to do so.
I am just happy that those who want to love don’t have to be afraid of the law now. It’s one less battle love must fight. I wouldn’t say that they are protected from society. We’re still trying to convince parents and families that loving outside your community is not a sin. Society still has a long way to go, but now with the court on love’s side, it gives the confidence to the people who are afraid.
“When Love Wins,” The Untimely Gap Year
But this much I know: My animals are masters of careful attention. When they choose to keep company with me, they see, hear and respond to me just as I am in that moment. They are not projecting their own fears and hopes onto me; they are not preparing a response to what I am doing or saying. They are not inwardly composing a grocery list while feigning interest, nor critiquing my appearance or mannerisms. They are fully with me until they turn that same, singular attention elsewhere.
This may seem a simple thing, and it is. But simple does not mean easy, and I have yet to meet a person as accomplished at paying attention as the most distracted animal. This matters. Poet Mary Oliver describes attention as “the beginning of devotion,” the necessary prerequisite to love. When another truly attends to us, we feel seen. Appreciated. We feel as if we matter for just who we are.
“Be First a Good Animal,” Meditatio Ephemera
I awoke the morning Max was born knowing it was his birthday. I was distracted, waiting. The contractions began at 11 a.m., and from the start they gripped me so powerfully that I struggled not to panic. We raced to the hospital, and he was born just after 1 p.m. People think that a fast labor must be easier, but really it’s only faster. I was still in a daze, trying to take a full breath while someone wrapped him up and handed him to me. The weight of him in my arms steadied me. I caught my breath.
We studied each other, silent. His eyes were a deep smoky blue, the darkness of them promising the stained glass brown they would become. He stared back at me, unblinking and somber. He never cried about being born — it just wasn’t that upsetting to him. I realized somewhere, deep in a place without words, that this child needed me in a different way than his older brother. I will always be on your side, I promised him.
“What He Left Behind,” Longreads
Have you read something about love recently that spoke to you? Please share!
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