Hey, what is love anyway?
I keep asking Bill, “Who loves you more than anyone was ever loved?” and of course he answers, “I’ve no idea…”
And just now, asking him, it occurred to me, What is love anyway?
What do I love about Bill? He is brilliant, loving, generous, funny, and of course, handsome.
Obviously there’s chemistry involved. When Bill and I met, we were so drawn to one another, like a magnet, it was painful to be apart. Still is.
Naturally love between mother and child is—well, it’s also a magnet, isn’t it? Lord a’mercy, I couldn’t keep my hands off my babies when they were new…I loved running a finger across the backs of their pudgy hands, over their downy heads—one child had a perfect duck’s back, smooth as silk (I wonder if it’s silky still). When I heard a cry, I ran at a trot, what does she need? Oh what’s happening with him? My love for my grown children—heavens, they’re in their sixties!—is the same…I always feel a trace of worry when I talk to them…are they well…are they happy?…is all good with them? And if it isn’t, I fret, but what can I do? I’m not at the heart of their lives anymore. I’m just an old lady who lives at a distance. Damn shame. Didn’t know that was going to happen, well of course I knew but expecting it is vastly different from feeling it. Children certainly should take off and live their lives. But separation takes its toll on motherly love.
And the love between friends, well it’s the same sort of draw…two people who are gemütlich, have common interests—or maybe don’t have common interests but have something fresh and new and fun or stimulating to give one another. Friendship is a chemical reaction, too. Recently I heard the sassy notion that friends are the family you choose. Love that.
Then there’s the love one feels for an animal. I can’t figure that out. Can’t quite fathom what an animal has that’s so magnetic—there’s never a word that gives a clue as to what they’re thinking, feeling. Now that’s dumb, Sylvia: what an animal is thinking, feeling, is perfectly obvious. Our soon-to-be-four-year-old German Shepherd, Uschi, is the heart of our household. We regard her as a person. Uschi spends much of her day curled up next to Bill on the sofa (a Philadelphian, he calls it the couch). While Dad is listening to books, Uschi stares out the front window at passersby…she can smell a dog through the wall and barks at it from the sofa/couch. She’s a joy to be with when we take our afternoon walks, she is big and strong beside me, interested in everything. So intelligent. At night when we’re on our way to bed, while I’m putting kitchen stuff away, Bill goes down the hall first and Uschi escorts him to the bedroom. Then she comes back for me. When I start down the hall, she trots ahead but then stops and turns around to make sure I’m coming…it’s her job, after all, she’s a shepherd. Uschi’s way of showing me affection is to press all her seventy-five pounds against me. I am careful not to be toppled over with love.
Cognizant of the future, I talked Bill into getting her…every one of both our sets of children were upset—“She’s too big! Your house is too small! You’re too old!” But I was thinking of when Gene died and I had my German Shepherd, Lady. For nine years I wasn’t lonely one single moment because of my blessed companion. When Lady died at thirteen, a few days later I brought home Cakes, a year-and-a-half old bichon-poodle. Cakes was my boon companion until Bill came into my life. At this point, should one of us be left alone, Uschi will fill the love gap. I guess that’s love insurance…
Then there’s also the love of one’s neighbor.
Love of country.
Love of one’s enemy.
Love of God.
Ah…to be continued.
Hey, what is love anyway?