Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
It’s no small thing being loved by people. No small thing having people to love.
And there are so many to love in my world.
I have gotten a little better in the past year or two at reaching inside of myself and pulling out love – strong, hopeful, and glowing red (or maybe pink?) – and handing it confidently over to those who should always have a claim on it.
I know. All of mankind should have a claim on it. And, I have improved there a little too.
But there are many within my sphere that deserve – simply by their existing – to always have a surety of that love.
There are still holes: still so many, even among just my family, that I need to make aware of my unconditional acceptance and adoration without reserve.
I have improved though.
I have two aunts – my father’s one remaining sister, and my mom’s half-sister – who never seemed to make frequency of contact or even lack of awareness about happenings in my life be any sort of hindrance to their love for me – any sort of excuse to miss a hug or expression of concern or affection.
I always knew that, in their mind, I belonged to them. It didn’t matter where I was or what I was doing or even how much they knew of it. I was theirs. They loved me.
That is what I want to be, and that is where I have been growing in tiny little steps.
It makes me realize that I do like some things about getting older. I like seeing small smidgens of growth; small increases in understanding and compassion. I like having less hesitancy and more certainty.
Loving people well sometimes feels strangely like physical pain. But it also feels like completeness and wholeness and happiness and rightness.
And it has been kind of spectacular for me to see – as I’ve sought to give love a little more openly and with a little less worry about what anyone might think -- how quickly it bursts into flame; lights up inside me, all real and true and bright, just from its having been offered.
And, because I can’t always think of a perfectly good excuse for every picture I want to share, I will end with these:
We took our kids to Christmas Village with their out-of-state cousins this past December. My sister-in-law Rhonda took these two pictures of Anders and I that, to be honest, I thought I looked rather darling in (there . . . I said it . . . no making excuses for why I shared these two!).
Rhonda did lend me her gloves. (My hands were frozen solid. . . . I hope that doesn’t mean her hands had to be frozen solid instead? Hmm. I like to think she had two pair.) Anyway, we all must admit that these pictures wouldn’t look nearly so cute had I just had plain old hands and wrists coming out of too-short coat sleeves.
Imagine, if I’d let him plug it in, how ironed all our jammies would be!