Love is . . .

Love is a mother’s hand gently touching the feverish forehead of her child’s head. It is a bowl of soup or a favorite dish like breaded chicken cutlets, brown gravy, and Mom’s famous mashed potatoes on a night when it was needed most.

Love comes to achild in the form of a mug filled with piping hot chocolate on a bitter cold winter’s day after sleigh riding. Love is found in Mom’s cinnamon toast mixed only the way she knows how to do it.

This is love. This is how it starts. This is love because these small things mean so much. They mean everything because these little memories from childhood are what come to mind, decades later, when Mom’s hands are old and brittle. This comes as a reminder when Mom has nearly forgotten everything; her mind has gone off towards the stages of dementia and all you have left are these memories that you value more than gold.

In the beginning, love comes in the form of a favorite teddy bear. It’s a game or an action figure when you’re young. Love is an afternoon with dad, knee-deep in the shallows along the beach while fishing for snappers and the warm summer sun beams down across Dad’s salt and pepper hair.

Love begins with the words, “It’s a boy,” or “It’s a girl,” and from that point onward, love takes on an entirely new meaning. Love is ever changing and constantly evolves with new definitions that never seemed possible before. Love improves (if we let it).

Love is a dog curled up beside you on a couch during a lazy afternoon. Love is the way a dog greets you at the door because to that dog, nothing else matters and no one else in the world is as important as you are.
Love is a slow dance with your grandma. It’s the feel when your grandfather touches you with his wrinkled hands that feel soft like a shaneel blanket. Love is a gift from long ago, but you won’t dare get rid of because it means too much. Love is a seashell you found someplace on Miami Beach near a building at 100 Lincoln Road.

Love changes—always.
Love is living and breathing; it cannot exist without food, air, or rest.
Love is a woman named Lynne who has not left her husband’s bedside at the hospital. It is a donation without expectation, and above all, love comes with as much loss as it does gains; however, the value of love and a loved one is never questioned by women like Lynne.

Love is that thing that makes you forget what day it is. All the previously important details we paid attention to suddenly become distant and insignificant. You forget about yesterday and you stop worrying about tomorrow. All you can think about is “Right now,” and how incredible it is to love someone so much that nothing else matters.

Love is what softens the edges to our sharp and bumpy life.
Do you want to know what love is?
Love is an action. Love is a brave emotion and as such, love never comes with any guarantees.

I say love is the smell that hits you when you walk into your parent’s home with your own family. At this point, there is an unspoken awareness that takes places with regards to the cycle of life.It’s your turn now. It’s your turn to carry the torch and light the way for the children you’ve created.

Love is not pain free. In exchange for its generosity; we sometimes have to pay greatly in return.
Love is allowing someone to go peacefully. Love is gathering in a hospital room, wherever it may be and saying important words like, “Goodbye, Mom,” and then realizing the depth of loss while quietly saying in an inner-voice, “I’m really going to miss her.”

This is love.

There are some that question if “Love” truly exists. I say it does. Love is a warm night on the coldest day of the year while tucked away in an A-frame cottage after a snowstorm. Love is the shadows on the wall of a girl’s silhouette that flickers from the dancing light of a fireplace. It is mysterious. It is frightening. It is a dream and sometimes a nightmare. Love is all of these things.

Love is driving home on the Long Island Expressway with your daughter sitting in the back, buckled in her booster seat, and singing a song with all her heart. Love is watching her do this as she dances in her seat, and because of its purity, this is enough to put a tear in a man’s eye.

Love is equally summed in the words, “I do.”
It qualifies the words, “Until death do us part.”

Love is an elderly couple that walks into the Scotrun Diner on Route 611 in Scotrun Pennsylvania. They come in the same time every day. They sit at the same table and order the same dessert. They’ve never left each other or given in on one another. They have survived decades. They have survived wars and different times—whether it was economically or politically, they have seen it all and their love has never changed.

Love is a home.
And like a home, love is exactly what you make of it.

Love is not as elusive as you think. It does not solely belong to physical intimacy. It is not limited to parenthood. No, love comes in different shapes and sizes.

Love is a group of friends, gathering together, laughing and smiling with arms around each other. Love comes dressed in a tuxedo and drives away with us in a limousine. Love happens when all the boys get together at a place called, C.P.I’s out in the Hamptons. Love is when you and everyone you know arrive at a place in Island Park called Paddy McGee’s during the late hot summer nights. Love is when we all gathered at Sprat’s on Thursday nights. Even when we swore we’d try and go someplace else—we never did, and that turned out to be just fine. Love happened at the old Oak Beach Inn. It happened at all these places because of the key ingredients that made these nights exactly what they were. And yes, this too is love.

Love is our youth; it is as wild as youth, and we live to the fullest because afterwards—after youth is done, we can never be this wild again. Fortunately youth is an extremely relative term, and though I am older now, I am not so old that I don’t think of these nights and remember what it meant to howl with the boys.

Love is an anniversary date.
It’s the day of a wedding that happened down on Woodcleft Canal in Freeport.
Love is a date with two sets of initials written in a heart and the words, “4-EVA,” written beneath it.

When I think of my friend Doug and his wife Kerri, I smile and say, “That’s what love is.” I smile because I am grateful to know them. I find it refreshing in today’s society that two can remain together since their days at Woodland Junior High School. And without question; I love them too.

Love is a single Mom, or any Mom for that matter. Love is also a single Dad or any dad as well. It is a brother or sister. It is a friend. Love is a connection above anything else. It is essential. Of all emotions, love is as necessary as the breath in our lungs.

Don’t believe me?
Try living without either of them.

Love literally has the ability to save lives or at least comfort it at the end. I have lived both well-off and financially strict. I have been on both sides of the wave. I rode the crest and tumbled into the sands. Yet, I have never had as much as when I had absolutely nothing in the bank. I lost the two cars in my driveway. I lost a boat that I dreamt of since childhood. I lost my credit and a large chunk of an annuity plan. With so little wealth—I never had as much as I did at this time.

Man . . .
I never knew how rich I could be until I had nothing left.

So that’s all for now Mom,

You once made me promise to read that book about love. I still have the book you gave me. And I plan to keep my promise. I guess I’m just taking notes as I go along.

I love you, Mom

I promise to write again soon



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