Love Them All, But Differently

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf published Valentine Week 2015 in The Albert Lea Tribune and The Courier Sentinel

valentineLove is amazing. I imagine it is not surprising for me to make that statement during this Valentine’s week of love. However, this week is an afterthought that coincides with the reason I decided to write about love.

It was an amazing week of relaxation, writing, catching up with old friends and family and meeting new friends. I spent the week in the Cities visiting with my grandchildren. While they were at school and their parents were at work I had the house to myself for quiet time to create.

One evening we treated the kids to dinner at one of their favorite restaurants. Our conversation turned to love. The conversation centered on valentines for school but quickly, with silly children, turned to the subject of love and who their parents loved best.

Erma Bombeck wrote a story titled “I’ve Always Loved You Best Because…” It is a favorite story from one of my favorite authors. The gist of the story is Erma loved all her children best, but in different ways because they have different personalities, and were born at different times in her life. As each child came into this world, Erma was at a different stage of her life. She didn’t love each child more, and she didn’t love each child less; she loved them equally but differently. I cry when I read Erma’s story because it touches a place deep in my heart in the way I feel for my children and grandchildren.

One day I was being silly and wanted to see what kind of reaction I would get from my children when I sent this message in a group message on my phone to all of them: “I always loved you best.” One panicked and didn’t realize it was a group message and immediately texted me back and said, “You can’t say that. That’s not fair to my brother and sister.”

I was happy to get that response because he didn’t want his brother and sister to feel bad. One of my children knew I loved Erma and was familiar with the story. She knew where the sentiment was coming from and what it meant. The other recipient saw that it was a group message and thanked me on behalf of him and his siblings. It was a good experiment, but so true. I love all of them best.

My grandchildren at the table were bantering back and forth. My grandson decided his dad loved him best and his mom loved his sister best. His sister agreed with him. Their mom and I explained that she and their dad, along with their grandmother, loved them both the same, but differently. My grandson piped up, “Grandma we need to split your heart in two but I get the bigger half.”

The word love encompasses a variety of different feelings and emotions such as attraction, compassion, kindness and affection. We have those feelings in different forms and different ways for different people. We love in many different ways. We feel romantic love for a spouse or a mate; we feel friendship love for a friend. Our love for our children is a love that is so huge it is hard to describe. That is what I mean when I say, isn’t love amazing? Isn’t it amazing we can feel so many kinds of love in our hearts? It is overwhelming if you take the time to think about it. We don’t love more or better, just differently, and somehow, we know the difference in the feeling.

However, to be totally unromantic and sensible, we all know the emotion of love comes from the brain not the heart. I wondered why and how the heart became the symbol of love. The heart has been a symbol of love since Greek mythology. I only found theories as to the reason love and the heart became connected.

My sprinkled mind was off and running wondering who came up with the word love. Who came up with the word happy? Who came up with the words that we use day in day out and take for granted in our conversations? I guess that is a column for another day.

During this week of love, show your love in different ways to different people that matter in your life. Let them know, like Erma, you always loved them best. While you are at it show a little love and kindness to a stranger. Love makes the world go round and we certainly don’t want it to stop spinning.

“Love wasn’t put in your heart to stay. Love isn’t love until you give it away.” —Michael W. Smith

 

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