Love looks like anything. It’s not something you can quantify and put your finger on, but there are symbols that lead you to love. They are different for everyone. For me, the little symbols of love are the most endearing, like the weedy bloom my son Matt picked from a neighbor’s lawn and brought to her door when he was four. It also looks like the long floral dress Matt bought me at a neighborhood yard sale when he was nine. That little symbol of love is still in my closet and always will be. Love also looks like the juicy toddler kisses Emma gave me when I finished her last bedtime story or the deep thanks that came from her little four-year-old voice when we made our first Thunder Cake. The loving gestures from small children can almost break your heart with their honesty and tenderness.
And then there are the indelible moments when your children show they love each other. You see them hug or you listen in on a backseat conversation when one child is comforting the other. The world stops spinning for a moment so you can feel the love.
My children Matt and Emma are 29 and 25 now, nothing like children. Their love is quieter, and it comes in unexpected ways. You must be ready to catch it. Matt served me some recently when he called just to say hi and see how I was doing. Anytime Emma asks to climb in bed with me and watch a movie, I feel loved.
When Matt and Emma come home, I put little symbols of love in their rooms. Maybe Hershey’s Kisses in a small ceramic bowl or flowers from the yard by their bed sides. I believe that it’s the little things that matter most. You can grasp them whole and set them right in your heart. A routine like putting candy by a bed may not seem like much in the moment, but over time it becomes a precious memory. My neighbor never forgot the day Matt brought her a dandelion from her front yard. She mentioned it well into her 90s.