Valentine's Day has been a bit lonely for me since my divorce three years ago. I tend to think of love as an experience I was blessed to have and enjoy, value and cherish, even if it didn't turn out to look the way I thought it would. I realize now that love isn't at all limited to a significant other. Neither is it predictable in its appearance, often disguising itself as an "ordinary moment", if there even is such a thing (and there isn't).
As I was organizing some of my favorite photos earlier today I realized that I was witnessing a beautiful theme - and that is, the many faces of love. It might be a visit with a mother who you haven't seen in many years, catching up as you sit in the kitchen that hasn't changed at all since you were last there. Or a party-animal grandmother who you bring out onto the dance floor after she assures you that no damn wheelchair will slow her down. Or maybe love is my weary father, bringing Holy Communion home to my ailing mother as their photographer daughter witnesses this sacred moment between them. Maybe it's the shared snuggle with a grandson you don't get to see often; or perhaps it's that moment when you're finally slow dancing with the one you love. It could be having the gift of time with your mother as she shares stories about her life while you sit on the couch together in the easy and tender way that was your love. It could be a late-in-life marriage as you lean into the partner you never expected to find at this time in your journey; or a dear friend's reaction to your wedding vows, knowing how much you've been though to get there. It could be introducing your beautiful wife to your grandmother, who was able to make it to the wedding after all, and who left the dream soon after; or an adoring mother holding two daughters she has been waiting her whole life to hold; Perhaps love is a slow dance with your favorite doll who knows all your secrets and wishes and won't tell a soul. Or maybe it's Grandma meeting the newest member of the family, as his sticky baby fingers pull at her friendly, animated, grandma cheeks. Or the way your husband grabs you for a quick kiss while your wedding photographer photographs your three beautiful children, 10 years later. Or it could be, and most definitely is, my cousin Ronnie, standing for a portrait with his friend Jesus, who he is now with on this Valentine's Day. I'm sure I can barely imagine the beauty of the roses he received.
I wish you all a sweet Valentine's Day. I hope you find love everywhere you look today, in all its many faces.