I know it's Valentine's Day today, which, as we all know, I have a complicated relationship with. Do I hate it? No. Am I bitter? Not even a little. Do I think it's a real holiday? Eh, not really. I know it is, but there's no factual reason to have Valentine's Day. And yet here we are. I guess if belief creates our reality, we've gotten exactly what we've asked for. A saccharine day full of the gestures the media told us is true love--gifts and chocolate, flowers, a nice dinner out.
Look, that's great if that's your cup of tea. If that's how you feel love in your life, who am I to judge? But I want to tell you that it's not my true love. I've been so lucky in my life to witness, give, and receive big love, and from what I know, true, real, deep, unending, eternal love has never come through chocolate and a teddy bear.
Do you know what I think of when I think of true love? The way my dog wiggles in pure, unadulterated joy when I come through the door--even if I literally just went outside for thirty seconds to take the recycling out. True love is my mom asking me what I had for dinner like it's the most important thing in the world to her. True love is the way my aunt and uncle danced to Lucinda Williams one New Year's Eve when I was 13. True love is my sister bringing me tea when I'm writing at night, or turning down the covers in my room when I get home late, or making coffee first in the morning (no one will love you like your sister does). True love is someone else cleaning the kitchen. True love is sitting around a table with your best girl friends and immediately falling into the soul conversations that you never touch with anyone else except for them. True love is the way my dad lights up when I walk into his house, even when I'm feeling surly. True love is when a stranger smiles at your dog, and then smiles at you too. True love is taking yourself for a walk when you're tired and stressed and sick of staring at the screen. True love is True love is choosing over and over again to make the call to an old friend, or sending the text when you're thinking of them, or writing a real live letter just so they have something bright in between the bills. True love is finding out that the thing you've been putting off--tightening the loose hook on the bathroom door, or hard boiling the eggs, or whatever--was done by your partner while you were at work that day. True love is your sister, the younger one, reading an essay you wrote and are scared is no good on her phone while helping her friends move because she knows it means something to you. True love is someone giving their seat up on the bus so you can sit down to read. True love is the cashier at Trader Joe's who gives out bags of chocolate almonds because you broke the mirror off your car.
Ah, I lied. True love does come in the form of chocolates after all.
The point of all this is to say that true love is there for us, every day, if only we reach out and grab it. It doesn't have to be big romantic gestures, heck, it doesn't have to be romantic at all. The things that we love, the people we love, will love us every day in a thousand small, beautiful ways. These are the moments to hold onto, that are worthy of our attention, that should be celebrated and held close to our hearts. They are, after all, what make our lives worth living.