Carole Christman Koch
What is love? We all have a different idea as to what love really is. The dictionary tells us love is “strong affection for another rising out of kinship or personal desire…affection and tenderness felt by lovers…affection based on admiration or common interests.” Indeed, love is all of the above and it comes in many more guises.
There was never a problem finding a gift for Mom for Mother’s Day. No matter what the gift, she made me feel it was “the best” she had ever received. I always managed to find the best in our own backyard. Gifts varied from mud dishes dried in the sun, or the blue bells and daffodils picked from the meadow, or some chore, like sweeping the walks.
Pop and I loved to listen to rainstorms. During a rainstorm, we could be found on the porch glider. Back and forth we’d swing, just listening. Droves of raindrops could be heard pelting the tin rood above us. Interspersed were thunder rumblings and sparks of light jabbed its way through the murky clouds, leaving behind shrieks of clamor. Once the storm subsided, if you listened closely, you could hear the ‘tweet tweet’ of birds ready for flight.
Not only individually, but love abounded in family activities. Summer evenings, could be extremely hot in the bedrooms of our farmhouse. On those nights, the children were allowed to carry mattresses, pillows, and sheets, outside in the yard to sleep on. Mom and Pop slept outside too. Not only were they fun, giggly times, but learning sessions as well. Mom always tried to teach us something about the stars. On those hot nights it was the stars. It was a delight to be the first child to have found the Big Dipper.
Love also came in packages of nine, some 67 years ago, when I was a baby. They were my older siblings. They came with gifts, not of frankincense and myrrh, but with loving hearts, hands that cuddled and hugged, ears that listened, and mouths that praised.
I welcomed from these sisters many hand-me-downs in maternity and children’s clothes. On my hospital stays, for the children’s births, found them involved in my household chores or babysitting. My brothers, built an addition to our home, for only the cost of supplies.
Their ongoing generosity was there for my new marriage and wedding preparations. They corralled their energy into painting, wallpapering and cleaning our elderly parents’ home to make it a “little nicer” for the small family gathering. Their creative cooking efforts were also on display with scrumptious food for the wedding feast.
Love sometimes came with the endearments of my children. Kim, my first-born, showed me the wisdom of years upon meeting the guy she fell in love with. When Dale told her about his cancer and “the bag” he had to carry around, he was concerned it would bother her. Her reply, “No, it’s just a piece of plastic between us.”
With Tina, it was the awe of knowing, a child of six, could see so much beauty in a summer scene. Upon eyeing a meadow, with the sun glistening through the trees, she exclaimed, “Mommy, look at that great, big beautiful world!” She still sees the beauty in things.
Mande, during the years she put herself through college, bestowed upon my husband and I, an essay on marriage. She wrote a complimentary essay on my husband and my marriage.
And Kevin writes me poetry.
Additional love is found in the affection, tenderness, and humor, between husband and wife. My greatest dream is to grow old with my husband. My heart beats a thousand beats to hear him guffaw from my sense of humor. Oh, for a thousand more ways, to love each other before we die.
What is love? It is neither beginning or ending. It is in people, animals, the trees, the sky, and inanimate objects. It is everywhere. It is in everything. Love just is.