Love is…

By Debbie Carini

There is a famous comic strip named “Love Is …” that was created by New Zealander Kim Casali.  It features a girl and a boy—two amorphous little masses really—who, for example, are drawn in a situation, like standing in a field of daisies, with a caption beneath that reads: “Love is enjoying the simple things together…”

I mention this, because I was, of course, thinking about what “love is” as I sat down to write this column, knowing it would be printed on February 14, Valentine’s Day, the loveliest day of all. I don’t want to seem to be plagiarizing the “Love is …” theme, but, as love is many different things to many different people, I thought I would try to capture on paper, what love is to me—a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.

First of all, love is… my husband always letting me have the “heel” of the loaf of Italian bread.  This may seem like a small thing, but he knows I particularly like that part, and he never, ever slices it off for himself. He also lets me do the “death-grip-of-fear” on his arm whenever we take-off or land in a plane; watches Jeopardy with me nightly, and patiently recreates the movies we see when I forget their plots and characters (sometimes, thanks to my short term memory problems, before the movie is even over—yes, I’m that person in the theater whispering, “Oh my gosh, was that the guy who murdered the other guy in the beginning of the movie?!”).

Love is… my mom walking with me almost every morning for the past 5-and-a-half years. It started because she was literally helping me get back on my feet after a serious illness; it has continued for more than 2,500 miles.

Love is… my dad still calling me Deborah, when all but the Social Security Administration and the IRS have capitulated on that as my true, legal name.

Love is… my 20-year old son calling each of his grandmothers, usually bi-weekly, just to say hi and share some (most likely, deeply redacted) tales of his exciting collegiate life.

Love is… my 22-year-old daughter, who now lives 3,000 miles away, trying to get her cat to meow to her over the phone. This really happens; I often hope the neighbors aren’t peeking through the windows as I hold the receiver near the non-responsive feline’s face.

Love is… my sisters, still wanting to disco dance whenever we all get together. Pretty soon we won’t be thinking, “We look hip,” during these vigorous workouts, it will be, “Jeez, I hope nobody breaks a hip!”

Love is… friends who still gather once a month, even though the children who brought us together have graduated from college, joined the military or moved out of the country. We’ve gone from exchanging recipes for lice removal to sharing the adventures of our young adults; from the PTA to AARP.

Love is all that and a lot more, too. So on this day of chocolate hearts (I hope!!) and red roses and dinner reservations, I’ll cherish the simple ways that affection and thoughtfulness and kindness enter my heart.  And wish all my readers a Happy Valentine’s Day too. XO!


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