Thoughts and ruminations about being a working mom, raising two daughters, and being Italian … while trying to maintain my sanity and organized closets. (My husband’s laugh, red wine, and ironing make me happy.)
By Adria Giordano
The Beatles said it’s all we need, and Diana Ross said it was endless. Love seems to be in the air throughout this month, and especially as we near Valentine’s Day. Defined as “an intense feeling of deep affection,” it can be amazing and beautiful and sad and destructive, “a battlefield” as sung by Pat Benatar, as you open yourself up to romantic love, exposed and vulnerable.
Growing up, every February 14th my father would bring home pink roses for my mother and one single pink carnation for me and each of my sisters. It was a simple gesture but showed his great love for his wife and daughters. He would also write poems for my mother, and looking back, and I remember thinking this is exactly what love is. This beautiful romantic gesture filled with pink roses and poems surely is what love is all about.
I was wrong.
It’s so much more.
Love is different for everyone, of course. But what is it exactly and how do we celebrate love during a pandemic?
What does love look like?
I shared this exact question with my friends and their answers were beautiful, different, funny, and authentic … some talked about romantic love being about simple gestures, not huge ones. It was about holding hands after many years, being vulnerable and putting someone else’s needs before your own. Waking up to coffee and doing something for your partner without asking them first because it will make their life easier was mentioned, like folding the towels a certain way or putting the toilet paper roll on over and not under. Many shared a deep joy and happiness that comes with love, and as my one friend stated, “engulfs your whole being, that no words could fully articulate or honor.”
Others shared their love for a child. A raw emotional kind of love that is so powerful it can override your other emotions. Whether it’s looking at your child smile or an unexpected hug from your teenage son, as my cousin shared, this kind of love goes right to your soul. I think it is like wearing your heart outside of your chest – the kind of love that makes someone cry when they are sad, angry at those who hurt them, and crazy with happiness when they are happy. You celebrate their wins and mourn their losses like they are your own.
Many friends shared love is their pet, pure and simple. The kind of unconditional love that is present the minute you walk in the door and many shared a photo of their pet looking lovingly at them.
Poetry and flowers aside, love is so much more than romance and big gestures …
It’s watching your husband remove the snow off your car before you drive to work and brush a path for your 17-year-old daughter so she can safely get to her car. It’s watching your daughters hold up their 89-year-old grandmother so she doesn’t fall and preparing her afternoon tea just the way she likes it. It’s watching your daughters light up when they hold their sweet pup, your mother making sauce to feed an army on Sundays, your sisters calling to check in, and girlfriends showing up with a latte (or wine) when you are going through a difficult time.
It’s making sure you love yourself so you can love others.
But during this challenging time of not seeing family and friends, I wonder, how do we celebrate and continue to keep this love present in our lives?How can we show love when we are sometimes falling apart ourselves? Is it something we can fake until the real thing comes along? And last, but certainly not least … are we loving ourselves enough?
It’s a lot to think about.
Yes, I will probably always be a romantic at heart. And as silly as this sounds, I love LOVE.
One thing I know for sure. Love is important. It’s SO VERY important. As humans we need this emotion. It can help us and motivate to be there for others. Whether we see this in the form of romantic love, parent-child love, pet love, or love of a stranger doing kind acts, it’s something which feeds our soul and gives us hope. And during this time I think we could all do with a little more hope. A little more love.
Adria Giordano describes herself as a mom, wife, fundraiser, party planner, and blogger. She is a currently the director of development and communications for Chrysalis Center in Hartford, CT. She lives in West Hartford with her husband, two teenage daughters, mother-in-law, and mini goldendoodle puppy.