I’ve been thinking a lot about love the last couple of days.

For starters, there’s that rather large and obvious thing called Valentine’s Day that has just passed us by. Kinda can’t miss that. Love it or hate it, there it is. I can’t say we’re huge fans of Valentine’s Day here. We’re not huge haters, either. I guess we’re kind of take it or leave it folks. Don’t get me wrong – we celebrate and acknowledge it. There’s nothing inherently wrong about it. But we don’t go crazy and over the top. It’s a holiday (which isn’t even really a holiday, but a Saint’s feast day gone awry) that has become so focused on people being “coupled” and buying extravagant gifts to prove it. And if you aren’t? Woe to you. Please.Neither the Fab Hub nor I can make sense of waiting for a designated day to express love for someone. Neither can we fathom needing a day to remind us to do so. That kind of boggles my mind. His, too. Make no mistake, we aren’t perfect. We don’t always remember to say those words often enough. We mess up. All the time. But it’s not like we don’t love each other. We do. All the time.

I read a post over at The Slow-Dripped Life earlier today and I just love what the author said in her last lines: “It’s the day after and love goes on.” Indeed it does. Love isn’t one day of calorie-laden chocolates or an expensive bouquet destined for the trashcan. Love is every day. It’s a hot cup of coffee waiting for you on a cold morning or a load of laundry folded. It’s letting your spouse be the one to sleep in late or not nagging the crap out of them to get a chore done (even when you really want to). That’s real life. That’s real love.

And that’s where my second reason comes in.

The other reason I have love on the brain is that the day after Valentine’s Day is the anniversary of the death of my Lovely Italian Grandmother. When I think of her – and of my Wonderful Grandfather – I can’t help but think about love. The words from that post really struck me because, obviously, it actually was the day after Valentine’s Day when she died. But in a larger sense, even after they’ve gone, love goes on.

Those two people had quite a love story. It’s the kind of stuff movies are made of. And yet it was really just plain old every day. It was extraordinary in its normalcy. I don’t remember my Grandfather bringing home huge bouquets of roses or boxes of chocolates. I’m not even sure I remember cards – maybe sometimes. I do remember Valentine’s Day being a lot about expressions of love from parents to children – my own Mom did much of the same. But in general, it just kind of came and went like most other days of the week. Maybe my own expectations (or lack of) about Valentine’s Day and romantic gestures is based on the fact that I don’t recall seeing that kind of TV-commercial driven romance when I was growing up.

What I do recall seeing was her ironing his pocket handkerchiefs because he liked them that way. I recall her making him a ham and cheese sandwich late at night after he got home from a sixteen hour day of work and sitting with him while he ate. I remember him handling the monster of a vacuum cleaner and shoveling the sidewalk and long driveway when it snowed. I remember him fixing thing around the house. I remember them dancing together at weddings, standing next to each other singing at birthday parties, and holding hands as they sat next to one another on the back porch laughing with family and friends. I recall them hashing out their differences about one thing or another across the kitchen table, but never walking out on one another.

I think what perhaps made that love so extraordinary was that it was simple. It was real and honest. And it lasted through everything they faced together in life. It makes me sad to see people profess eternal love that really just ends up being as disposable as leftover Valentine’s Day roses or chocolate candy wrappers. I didn’t grow up watching that. I grew up watching Valentine’s Day look like just about every other day of the year in their house. And so perhaps that’s why to me, every day looks like Valentine’s Day.

Because love – real love – happens every day.


Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

22 thoughts on “Every Day Love

  1. What wonderful memories you have of your grandparents! You are right: that is the look of love. It is the little things that we do for each other simply because they like it that way. Thank you for sharing that love story.

    1. That’s a good way to phrase it – they did those things because that’s the way they liked it. They both took such good care of the other. They weren’t perfect – nobody is – and they had their rough spots like anyone else. But they always remembered what they were doing there and made sure things worked out.

  2. What a perfect Valentine’s Day post. Love is everyday actions. A kiss at departure and arrival. What wonderful people your grandparents must have been.

  3. Oh I loved this so much, I just got all teary reading it. It’s truly beautiful, my friend. I completely agree with you that love goes on. We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day here, either. I tell my husband and son (and show them I hope) that I love them every day.
    Your grandparents sound like wonderful people. What lovely memories you have of them and how lucky to grow up with such lovely role models for love.

  4. Your grandparents were awesome. Mine were married for 76 years before they both passed. Once my grandmother went, my grandpa wasn’t far behind.

    My own feelings towards Valentine’s day are mixed. Personally, I’m ambivalent but work in an industry obsessed with it. If my husband all of the sudden showed up with candy or flowers I would think something was wrong.

    1. Let me think (does math)… My grandparents were married 65 years but I believe they were together (because they were together from the second they met) for 70 years. That’s pretty amazing, if you ask me.

      Hah – that’s about what I would think, too. 😉

  5. Those are wonderfull memories! Yes, I agree with you. Love happens everyday. Love isn’t roses or chocolate, but pausing the tv when that one soccer game is on until your husband is home so he won’t miss it or recording the new episode of a British crime series and surprising your wife with it when she comes home.
    Love is thoughtfullness towards the other.

  6. We are fairly low-key on Valentines also. We enjoy it, but sometimes like this year I just made something easy at home and we instead enjoyed our first blast of warm weather… went for a long walk in the woods at farm. Perfect!

  7. I’ve come to dislike Valentine’s day over the years. Not the sentiment behind it, but the attachment to gift giving. Really, I’d just rather get nothing, maybe a small item or gesture, but that’s about it. This year, my wife and I did something simple, we went to the symphony. A free concert was announced at the last minute and we got to hear Vivaldi’s Four Seasons played. So beautiful. It made for a really great night out and it was all free. Now that I look back on it, I think it was one of my better Valentine’s days.

    1. That’s exactly it – it’s become just too much. I love the choice to do something together – share an experience rather than just purchase a gift. We do that, too, and with Kidzilla as well as just the two of us. Those memories and shared experiences last far longer than any gift, no matter how cool.

      Culture is great – that symphony performance sounds great. Free culture? Even better! I love that – it opens the door to more people that might otherwise have been true. I think it’s fantastic.

  8. AH…. you paint such a beautiful portrait of love, Lisa!!! I am so glad you were witness to the love that is in every day. I just adore this post. The message and the story touched my heart so very much. THAT is the true love there- and these days, I sadly think it’s hard to come by… 🙁

    1. Thanks, Chris. I’m pretty glad about that, too. Theirs was a “true” love, indeed. I do think it’s something harder to come by today because I honestly think that people are raised differently than my grandparents’ generation was. Maybe not everyone, but many. Our values as a society have shifted and marriage isn’t a thing that you commit to and work at together until, literally, death parts you. All too often it’s something disposable – if it doesn’t fit, I’ll just toss it. To me, that’s no good. Can’t tell you how it warms my heart to know that this touched yours. 🙂

  9. It’s true – I never saw grand expressions of love from my grandparents, either – it was more of an understanding and an appreciation of each other’s strengths and character. Which is what I desire more than roses and chocolate. Thank you for this glimpse into your past. I can clearly see how their example has influenced you and your husband’s relationship.

    1. Ah, I really like that word – understanding. Yes, that’s exactly how to describe it! I guess their influence has affected me in ways far greater than I ever knew. But they were like that, too – always guiding us without us quite realizing it.

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