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What Is Love?
Family Matters

by Dena Blizzard

It’s Valentine’s month, and I’ll be honest; I love it and I hate it.

I love … “love!” It’s great. I just always end up being the mom at CVS, on Feb. 13, looking at no-name candy filled with the disgusting orange-colored cream, wondering why I can’t remember to LOVE my family the way the media tells me to. I feel like I show them every day, but it’s Valentine’s … so I buy in.  

My husband’s got it easy! I’m not a candy/flowers/card girl. I am a WINE girl … and frankly, I’d forego the wine if I could just get some help around the house. These past few weeks he’s earned major Valentine’s points because I feel like I’ve been sick for a month  and he’s been amazing!

I was sick. Both my daughters were sick. My mom was sick—and was sure we infected her—so we didn’t see her for weeks. I wasn’t even sure if I had ONE sickness or four different ones! When I finally went to the doctor, he asked, “How long have you been sick?” I said, “Either three days or three weeks, I’m not sure. The symptoms all just run together.”   

Like most women, if I’m sick, I battle through … unless it’s a headache. I could poke out an eye, cut off a limb and battle bronchitis while folding laundry and driving carpool, but a sinus headache/bordering on migraine? I’m done. I’ve learned not to fight it. I usually quietly head to my room, hoping that someone realizes I’m not  making dinner, doing laundry and tending to their every need. But after a few days, I realize I might die due to starvation and inattention.  

These are the moments I know my husband loves me.

Like most couples, my husband and I are caught up in the everyday bustle of life. We are not lovey-dovey 24/7, but I know, when I’m sick, he goes into super drive. It’s beautiful … and I know he loves me.  

Most days if I ask for him to clean out the carport or his closet in the basement, he’ll head for the yard, mumbling something about  dog poop, the lights being on or how the bushes are “out of control” and then NEVER do the chores I asked. But when I’m sick … he’s by my side, like a united force against the squatters (our kids) who do nothing to help me unless a phone is at stake … and I know he loves me. 

I think the greatest way I know he loves me is that he NEVER talks about me on Facebook … and I love it. Honestly. Call me a weirdo, but it bugs me when people go nuts on their Facebook with how much they love their significant other. I know I sound like a crotchety old man, but I feel like people who avidly proclaim their love for their husbands/wives are divorced   in a few months.  In real life, you would never go up to someone you “kinda know,” show them a picture of you and your loved one, and ramble on for FIVE paragraphs about the love. I can’t. Don’t get me wrong. Post a pic, hashtag it with #love #meanttobe #valentines … but the novels? I can’t. Stop it. Jim barely mentions me and has, in the past, denied knowing me … and I love it.  

Had I read this when I was single or newly married, I would think that my standards had finally hit rock bottom. The reality is I’m not waiting for Valentine’s Day to celebrate LOVE. I try to love and be loved every day. Here are some of my favorite  LOVE moments that didn’t involve candy, a card, chocolate or WINE (OK, maybe some wine).  

I love it when … my daughter Brooke makes me a cup of tea. It makes me realize what a great mom she’ll be when she grows up. I love it when … my kids laugh at my jokes. I would take my three kids laughing over a sold-out audience any night.

I love it when … my dogs don’t pee in my house … for obvious reasons.

I love it when … my kids listen to my “when I was a kid” stories like they actually care. I’d like to think they’ll share our stories for generations to come.

I love it when … my  mom and dad are here, at a moment’s notice, to fill in when I’m on the road. There’s nothing like having your parents and kids build memories together—making a cake, enjoying recitals, helping Grandmom and Grandpop to their car. It makes me feel like I won’t end up in a crappy nursing home in 30 years.  

I love it when … my son, Dean, and I talk “comedy.” We just performed on the same show Jan. 20. It was a highlight of my life.

I love it when … my daughter, Jacqueline, just is. She’s kind, she’s smart and she’s real. I couldn’t ask for anything more.  

I hope you celebrate your loves this month. Enjoy your candy, chocolate and wine, but remember those other moments. Those moments when your kids/husband do something you DIDN’T ASK FOR. It’s beautiful (far better than a rose or chocolate caramel).   I’m not saying I don’t want wine, but when I raise my glass in celebration, I want to remember those other real moments that fill my life, year round, with LOVE. 

 

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 11 (February 2018).  For more info on South Jersey Magazine, click here
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