The hour was drawing near. It was go-to-the-printer time, and there was a gaping hole where my publisher’s note belonged. Something usually comes to me, but this time, I was drawing a complete blank. In recent days, we’ve had a death in the family, a cancer diagnosis, and we’ve all been mourning the tragic death of Meg Menzies. Nothing the least bit cheery to draw from there. Well, that’s technically not true – the outpouring of support for #megsmiles has been one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed and a true testament to all that’s good about social media (and the media in general). But what could I possibly write that hadn’t already been said?
So there I was, stumped for a topic, mulling over Presidents’ Day, Valentine’s Day, and another issue full of awesome articles I could reference, when in strolled my 5-year-old, who was enjoying his Martin Luther King Jr. Stay-home day. “I don’t like you, Mom.” Oh great, I thought, I’d heard about this phase, but I didn’t think we were there yet. And quite frankly, I’d hoped those statements only came from moody daughters. “I don’t like you… I LOVE YOU!” Oh, thank you, Lord, we’re not there yet!
Maybe, if we’re really, really lucky, we’ll never be there. It’s a naïve thought, I know, but that night, when he whispered, “Can you snuggle, Mommy?” as he dozed off to sleep, I was reminded that the depth of the love we feel for our children knows no bounds, and with any luck, this depth is, and always will be, mutual. Snuggling to him has a very specific meaning, just by the by. And to set the stage, it means on our sides, facing each other, with my arm (or Dad’s, he doesn’t play favorites) over him, and my hand on the center of his back. If the hand is not precisely where it belongs, he’ll reach around and move it “into position.” I watched him drift off to dreamland, and I thought about love, and the circle of life, and then I thought about my sweet Nana. She left us last month, after ninety-four years of spreading joy and daily decrees of “Bless your darlin’ heart” across Bellevue, the neighborhood where she spent her entire adult life until she could no longer live on her own. The night before she passed away, her granddaughter was reading 1 Corinthians 13 to her, a Bible passage many of us know and cherish. Using all of her energy to breathe, Nana wasn’t doing much of any talking anymore, so she was just letting the powerful words wash over her. When her granddaughter got to the end, “…but the greatest of these is love” – Nana said just as plain as day, “I love that word.” “Which word, Nana? Love?” she asked.
“Yes, love.” Those were the last words any of us heard her say.
During this Valentine’s month and always – yes, the greatest of these is love.