“And in the end, the love we take will be equal to the love we make.”
~ The Beatles
You may have guessed by the name of this site that I am a Beatles fan. This quote is one of the many, many reasons why. And in honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share it.
I’m still high from Valentine’s Day. (From the celebration of love, not from the sugar.) I know it’s commercialized and bastardized. But it didn’t start that way, it started in the name of love. I also know that it can be a crummy holiday for singles. But it doesn’t have to be. Valentine’s Day is not about romantic love alone. Love is love is love.
Maybe because I was single for so many years and I had a best friend (instead of a boyfriend) who spoiled me with candy and flowers and made me feel special, and parents who gave me something small but thoughtful, but no matter the reason, I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day, single or broken-hearted or attached or married. I love the candy grams and the conversation hearts and the heart-shaped balloons and the chocolate and the pre-made Valentine cards I carefully addressed to each grade school classmate, mindful of which message I gave to which kid, weary of sending the wrong message to the wrong person. As if anyone read them.
Valentine’s Day is not a holiday just for lovers. It is a holiday for love, one day out of 365 especially dedicated to spreading more of the stuff we are made of. The Beatles said it best: the love we take will be equal to the love we make. Make more love, take more love. Love, in all its forms, will make you glow. Love will make your heart happy. Love will make you live longer. It doesn’t have to stop after February 14th. Smile at strangers. Bring flowers to your friends. Write a love note to your partner. Call a parent and say those three simple words: I love you.
When I fell in love with a man who had a 2 year old son (he’s 5 now), I wasn’t worried about being a stepmom. Because I knew, somehow, that as long as I loved his little boy the best way I knew how, we would be fine. We could be a family. Of course, step-mothering has its challenges, some of which I could have never anticipated, but I was right: we’re okay. We’re better than okay because we love one another unconditionally. And I have more love in my life because I opened my heart up wide and I found enough love for not only a man, but for his child as well.
As a mother of a two year old, I have bad days. Moments when I lose my patience. I just want her to eat or sleep or stop crying or leave me in peace. Sometimes I lose my patience, and I might snap at her, my voice may become mean for a second, or I might tune out her cries for a minute while I gather my wits. Other times, I am able to reach deep right away and grasp the intense love I have for my daughter, and this love calms me. This love overwhelms me. She is a part of my soul, the brightest spot in my heart, how can I lose my patience with her? I cannot. I do not. I am gentle but firm. I am the picture of an understanding, loving parent. And I hope that the more I practice finding this love in moments of weakness, the easier it will be to find.
In the meantime, I am patient with myself. I am flawed, but I am learning unconditional self-love. I give love and I take love and I kiss my loved ones as often as I can. Maybe, the more I love myself, the better I can love them.