Love is …..

What is love?

Apparently that is one of the most searched questions on Google. I know I have asked it myself.

Love is an emotion I am not sure I feel or receive.

Odd, isn’t it. I am married to my best friend. I have three kids. I know I probably do love them, but identifying that emotion is beyond me.

I know when I am cold. I know when I am hot. Happy. Sad. Hungry. In pain.

But I struggle to identify love.

Yes, I say I love things. Chocolate. Coffee. This book. That movie.

I don’t tell people I love them. Even when alone in the middle of the night, sitting with my dying mother, I found it hard to utter those three words. Eventually I did. Maybe she had been waiting for them all her life too, she died two hours later.

No-one told me they loved me when I was growing up. It was not the done thing.

I have lived most of my life struggling to even like myself, let alone love me. I took it as read that perhaps I was not very loveable. Even Andrew doesn’t really declare his emotions for me. The language of love in our family is a strong dialect of sarcasm. My kids are incredibly fluent. Though Robbie checks in with a touch on the shoulder as he passes. Jonny steals my glasses as he goes by. Juliet talks to me these days – high praise indeed. Andrew says, if he doesn’t add “you stupid bitch” to the end of his sentence, that is good enough.

But last night I felt something which I assume was love. For a person. Luckily it was my husband. He has been particularly supportive as I wrestle with a problem. I looked at his face. And this huge wave of warmth and emotion swept through my body.

Love.

Wow. I love my husband!!

Did I say it? Nope. Too chicken.

Maybe when he wakes up. Though the emotion I feel towards his snoring is definitely not love!

PS: Some of you might poo-poo the sentiments expressed above. Please remember this is what I feel, not what you perceive me to be or feel. My journey of healing through counselling has reinforced the importance of owning my feelings and emotions. No one has the right to judge me on those.

I know I have warped views on some things – love, sex, body image. I am working on them in my own time.

All you need is love

Today is Valentine’s Day. The day of love.

What bollocks!

Every day should be a day of love.

Growing up in New Zealand, Valentine’s Day was something I read about or saw on TV. It was part of a culture quite different to mine, one which included Halloween, Thanksgiving, cheerleaders, proms and drive-in movies.

I also read a lot of English books and was just as intrigued with boarding school, lacrosse and smugglers. (OK, I read a lot of Enid Blyton.)

Somehow with the globalisation of the world these figments of my childhood literary world have invaded my actual adult world. I even saw school girls playing lacrosse in Hagley Park on Wednesday.

Valentine’s Day. Roses. Chocolates. Cards. Gifts. Dinners and special dates. The pressure is on.

It is Friday. In our family Friday are fragile. Everyone is a little frazzled. Tempers are frayed. Fights frequent.

But we know this and try to avoid any extra pressure.

Juliet teaches dance class and then babysits or goes out, or else goes to bed early. Jonny usually has indoor soccer and dines royally at Burger King. Robert goes into cyberspace and does not notice anything else outside of that world.

Often Andrew will come home and offer to take me out for a meal as neither of us feel like cooking. It will be cheap. Sometimes so cheap it involves a trip to the supermarket deli and then parking up by a river or the sea. It doesn’t actually matter. What is important is the time we have alone to talk about stuff – big stuff, little stuff, silly stuff. That’s what keeps the love evolving.

I like getting flowers. And presents. I like being romanced and treated like I am special.

But I like it more when it just happens. Not because of some declared day.

And when Juliet says I can share her pot of coffee, or Robbie pats me on my head as he walks past. Jonny puts selfies all over my phone and Andrew offers to bring me tea if I am working late at work.

That is love.

The cat nuzzling me all night, kneading my shoulder, purring loudly on my chest? Not love! Hunger! The cats need to give me flowers and chocolates today!

So this Valentine’s Day will be like any other Friday. If we can get through it without falling out – that will be fine. That is all I need.