The Definition of Love – As Told by a Bunch of Three-Year-Olds!
Love is in the air. Valentine’s Day is almost here and there are “signs” of love everywhere. Heart shaped boxes stuffed with chocolates line the shelves of every department store next to mounds of stuffed animals and dozens of roses. Commercials for jewelry stores claim that every kiss begins with them or every love story starts with diamonds, pearls and other sparkly things. Merriam’s online dictionary defines love as "a passionate affection for another person or warm personal attachment". Nowhere does it say that love is defined by material things, however somehow our society has gotten a different idea.
Love, in my opinion, can be defined in many different ways. To help clarify the notion that love is more than a goofy stuffed monkey, I decided to ask a few "experts" what love meant to them. My experts happen to be ten of the cutest three year olds I have ever met; my class. I asked each of my students how they knew that mommy and daddy loved them. The answers I received were heart-warming and they supported the idea that material items don’t have to come into play. Their answers included the following:
- because I love them so much they love me too
- they love me because we are a family
- because they play with me
- because they take care of me when I am sick
- because they read me stories and sing songs to me
While some did mention things like toys and clothes, the majority of them cited non-material answers.
Wanting to further my research, I asked my Facebook followers how they knew their spouse/significant other showed their love for them. Not one person mentioned material items. Love, according to my social media experts is expressed with warm cups of coffee after a long day at work, being a good listener, hello and good-bye kisses, doing the laundry, and protecting and providing for their family. My husband, David, weighed in and not only warmed my heart but provided one of the best answers I received; “It may be nothing out of the ordinary. Isn't that called unconditional? I know you love me even when I don't do things for you beyond the normal. Showing love isn't always easy, but I love you...”
Love, I believe is an everyday thing that if you pay attention it, will lead you down your life road to your destination. Sometimes love is just the everyday normal routine stuff that doesn’t requires any bells and whistles. Much like her dad, my daughter Melinda shared her thoughts on love; she is in a committed relationship with her girlfriend Emily and will be celebrating their first Valentine’s Day together. Melinda’s answer is simple “she supports me in all that I do”.
Can it really be as simple as kind gestures, warm embraces, steady support, a load of laundry or a cup of coffee? I believe that it is the simple things in life that produce the deepest and purest form of love that anyone can experience. It is when we allow ourselves to be loved in this way that we find our greatest comfort and joy.
One of my favorite “love” quotes comes from an anonymous author who says “I don't pretend to know what love is for everyone, but I can tell you what it is for me; love is knowing all about someone, and still wanting to be with them more than any other person, love is trusting them enough to tell them everything about yourself, including the things you might be ashamed of, love is feeling comfortable and safe with someone, but still getting weak knees when they walk into a room and smile at you.” Love is a beautiful thing that thrives when nurtured with normalcy, simplicity, honesty and humility. Love is love.