There’s a saying I like a lot, and that is, “Love is a verb”. Love is a feeling, of course, but it is also, at least as importantly, an action. It’s how we treat people.
This afternoon Emily was beside herself when Ted got home from the morning’s outing with the kids. We did quick lunch and then took the twins upstairs for their nap, but Emily was so tired she was unable to become anything other than very very mad and sad. After we turned the light out she started crying for Hazel. After a bit I went downstairs and asked Hazel if she’d come up and snuggle with her sister. She did. Ted was in bed with Emily, who was still scream/crying, and Hazel got in too.
And then she embodied love in action. She spoke with such tenderness and compassion in her voice, reassuring Emily, telling her it was ok, that she was ok. She told her a story. She went through the mantra we use, “Mommy loves you, Daddy loves you,” etc. She soothed and was present. In that moment I felt how having a family can expand love, make it bigger. It’s like rings from a thrown rock in water, only they grow in volume as they get bigger, rather than fading away.
Hazel was born with eyes wide open, totally and intensely present. Everyone noticed. Even when she was a tiny little baby people would come up to us in the grocery store and comment on her gaze, her presence. I felt so acutely that she was a gift to me. I was enveloped in wonder and beauty.
Life goes along and gets so complex, and kids grow and things get more complicated. They challenge you, and you lose, for a time, the purity of those early moments. But sometimes you get that back. This afternoon was a moment like that for me, a dive back into that sense of amazed marveling I felt when she first came into my life. Hazel’s presence in it is a gift of love, both in feeling and in action.
And it reminds me of how I felt as a little kid with my older sister. That quality of nurturing love that runs like a thread through our relationship to this day, and which I will always treasure.