Valentine’s Day just came and went and we probably think we’ve known a thing or two about love. Perhaps we scoff at the tired material parade that it’s become, but I’m sure we have been, to some extent in our lives, willing recipients of loving admiration. We might have grasped it in some measure through a stalk of rose, a pretty trinket, a thoughtful meal, a blush and a kiss, or a whispered word of significance.

The truth is, I never really knew what love really meant till I became a wife and mother. That’s when my idealistic newfangled visions of romance and notions of this four letter word evolved and dissolved into the all too-dramatic realisation that my heart doesn’t stop for these things.

1000 hugs

On the eve before Valentine’s, my six year old wrote me a letter while I was napping. I had earlier turned down her request to open up the craft box since I was about to prioritise the heavy-lidded ness weighing down on my eyelids …the unfortunate result of post-lunch fatigue. I told her to wait till I woke up and “make do” with whatever pencils and stationary available. It was a rather selfish, careless rejection and at the corner of my eye I could see her glimpses of disappointment before I nodded off to sleep.

When I awoke, I saw her and her little sister chirping excitedly about something that they had just made for me. It was a plainly pencilled letter scotched together in a makeshift envelope. “Mummy, I wrote you a letter” she grinned half bashfully and excitedly as I unveiled its contents with mildly sheepish anticipation.

You see, what I saw in this humble piece of scrap paper jolted me awake immediately and made my heart suddenly fuzz up. It was without doubt, Love: the very elusive, sought after, complicated, sometimes twisted notion that is the thirst of every breathing being. But there it was, plain, unadulterated, for my eyes only to behold, an expression from a little gleaming human being beside me who’d somehow unravelled the knots of that seemingly complex emotion.

My instinctive response was to feel immediately small. Why was I even a deserving recipient of 1000 hugs and of her unconditionally rendered heart? Would I even think of giving her 1000 hugs as a gift of my love and affection? How devastatingly simple is it to love another human being? I thought of how I’d earlier brushed her aside and yet…her note preached to my heart the fullness of love afresh in all of its glory.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails”.