Ruminations on Love, Days 23 and 24

I have many loves

From all parts of my life

In all my years of being.

 

Love for God and good

And triumph over evil

In the world.

 

Love for people who

Are here and gone

Either on Earth or simply my life.

 

Love for my family

Who makes me laugh and

Cry and feel everything in between.

 

Love for my daughters

Who work so hard in school

To make honor roll.

 

Love for my husband,

Soul mate, lover,

Giver and maker.

 

Love for my beautiful friends

Who ground me with their love

And stand by me.

 

These loves lift me up

In soul and spirit

And are everlasting.

 

Yet other loves have broken me

Giving me pause to wonder

Why?

 

Why did he give up on me

For the new girl in 8th grade

Never giving me a second thought?

 

Why did he make me fall in

Love with him in college,

When we were 10 years apart?

 

Why did he leave me standing

In the rain at the airport

Taking my heart with him?

 

These loves challenged my

Senses, making me face dark realities

In the light of day.

 

These loves took something

From me but in return

Made me stronger.

 

These loves gave me strength,

Though hard-won,

Made me resilient.

 

I am a better person

For having endured the heartbreak

Because I persevered.

 

And from there I learned that

Loving requires patience

For nurturing understanding.

 

Loving gives as much as it takes,

Without keeping scorecards

Of who did the most loving.

 

It shapes who you are,

How you respond,

What you give back.

 

Loving frees you up to be more selfless,

More giving of yourself,

More inward looking.

 

It polishes the rough edges of your soul

To help heal the wounds

Others left behind.

 

Yet loving is also hard work.

It does not always come easy,

Often times leaving you lonely.

 

In these times it tests your marriage,

Pulling you apart in all directions

Because the spark slowly fizzled when you weren’t looking.

 

It feels like a long frozen winter

That has no end with the wind

Leaving you bare inside and out.

 

Just as in nature, love has its own seasons:

Falling in love is full of bloom

And beauty, filled with rays of joy.

 

The landscape is blue as the sky

With lush greens sprouting new life,

Every moment exhilarating.

 

Sweet Jasmine breezes fill the air

With passionate kisses

That leave you wanting more.

 

Building love lays the foundation

With memories you hold forever

Like the carefree days of  summer.

 

The weekend trips you took

On a moment’s notice

Without caring about the destination.

 

And the concerts and plays and parties

You attended together

Will be reminders of the creation of us.

 

Accepting love happens when

The daily realities of life

Fall upon you like autumn leaves.

 

Love matures when the bills arrive,

Careers take off or crash,

Babies cry in the middle of the night.

 

You are in a constant state of

Shifting priorities hour to hour,

Praying that you did the right thing.

 

Sustaining love takes great resolve

To keep the fire burning in

The cold of night.

 

It is the most rewarding of seasons,

When you wrap yourself in

All the many layers of love and memories.

 

And, at the end of the day

You still choose your beloved

To grow old with.

 

A different kind of love

Involves both sides of parenthood–

Being the child and being the parent.

 

As children, we look up to our parents

To provide us with the necessities of life.

Some of us are lucky enough to receive these gifts.

 

Not everyone is so blessed.

They have to fight to be loved

And understood from within the family.

 

Growing up in such a lack of love

Screws up your worldview,

Messes with your head.

 

Some never recover from

Circumstances they never asked for

Because that’s all they’ve known.

 

The lucky ones get out when they can

To start over, creating the love

They never had from the beginning.

 

I am fortunate that my mom’s

Childhood didn’t take away her

Capacity to love her own children.

 

I was raised in love,

Taught to love others,

Appreciate what you have.

 

My parents nurtured me,

Encouraged my confidence,

Fed my self-esteem.

 

None of this prepared me

For the depths of love I felt

The day I brought my twins into this world.

 

Holding them for the first time

Took my breath away as they were

Such incredible blessings of faith and hope.

 

You see, we weren’t sure we would be able to have children

The day we found out about the cancer

The year we were going to start our family.

 

So life threw us a curve ball,

And we didn’t back down from

That year of unknowns.

 

We prayed for healing, life, and strength

To get us through the damning journey

Of appointments, treatments, tests.

 

God blessed us that year,

Woke us up and shook our cores

To show us His gifts.

 

We had to open our hearts to

Appreciate patience, gratitude, grace

On days that life seemed so unfair.

 

So the journey to parenthood was hard won,

We were overjoyed to find out

We could conceive on our own.

 

Then, at 17 weeks God revealed His plans

Of not one baby but two

And our lives changed forever.

 

Tears of joy (and fear) filled our eyes

As we saw our lives rushing by in twos–

Cars, college educations, weddings.

 

But love carried us through

That day and the entire pregnancy

As we launched into parenthood.

 

I had doubts about whether I would be a good mom,

Worried that I didn’t have that special gene

That makes everything feel better with a kiss and a hug.

 

With the gentle touch of God’s hand on my shoulder

And the love of my husband

My motherhood fears disappeared.

 

Overnight, it seemed, I jumped into this new role

With eyes and heart wide open

And heard my mother’s words come out of my mouth.

 

As we approach my daughters’ 13th birthdays

I see all the moments of joy (and frustration)

Play in my mind like a Hallmark movie.

 

Like the first time they

Walked, called me mama,

Wrote their names.

 

Or their first Christmas,

First birthdays,

First Communion.

 

These events seem like they

Happened just yesterday

And I wish I could slow down the pace of our lives.

 

So I keep these memories close by

While creating new ones

Day in and day out.

 

I hope when my girls look back on their childhood

They will remember their life with us

Was good and joyful and loving.

 

That we always did the best we could as parents,

We had their best interests in mind,

We loved them the only way we knew how.

 

The best thing we can teach our children is how to love,

Show them what it looks like,

What it feels like.

 

So when they find love,

They will know what to do,

How to give it without expectations.

 

Just like we teach them about God,

His love for us and the greatest sacrifice

One could ever imagine.

 

We teach them the importance of respect,

The Golden Rule,

Random acts of kindness.

 

We teach them about being true to themselves,

To be who they are

And not change just to fit in.

 

We teach them about friendship,

How to grow them

And nuture them with love.

 

 

Response to 31-Day Poem Challenge

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