Defining love on Valentine’s Day | Tolman's Tales

Love, according to songwriter Sammy Fain, “is a many splendored thing.” The Eagles opined that it “will keep us alive.” Hal David and Burt Bacharach felt it “makes the world go round.” The Beatles told us it was all we need.

So what is this ominous, life-changing, emotional state that can make us giddy or make us wonder how the planet continues to turn?

Writing about love is nearly impossible. No doubt each of us would describe it differently. Love is difficult to define, but you know it when you see it. And you know it when you feel it.

I knew I was in love when I cared more about someone else’s best interest than my own.

When simply seeing the other person made me smile.

It is the feeling when you hold your newborn child the first time, and want to scream to the heavens “I am absolutely the luckiest person on the entire planet at this moment!”

It is lying awake trying to figure out how to be a good role model for the baby.

I am not sure love conquers all, but it is a good place to start moving forward after a dispute.

Love helps us sleep, lying next to our partner, and keeps us awake as we worry about our children, and, later, our parents.

It is the unquantifiable, difficult-to-describe feeling when your kids or grandkids run toward you, arms open, truly glad to see you.

Love is rocking a restless child to sleep when your arms are numb.

In later years, love is slyly smiling when you see your children acting out the lessons you taught them as youngsters.

Sometimes love is simply holding an aging parent’s wrinkled hand, silently assuring them they are not in this world alone.

Love is not always permanent. It can come and go if not fed and massaged over time.

It is two people sharing a deep history of experience, stories, adventures and uneventful, quiet moments together.

There is a book we read to our kids which had the refrain, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll love you for always, as long as I am living, my baby you’ll be.”

Maybe that is what we really celebrate on Valentine’s Day. That while love is common, our individual love is unique, one-of-a-kind, ours alone. And to remind those we love deeply and joyously, how much we treasure them in our lives. Forever. For always. As long as we are living our loved one they’ll be.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

— Jeff Tolman is a lawyer in Poulsbo and a periodic columnist for the Herald. Copyright Jeff Tolman 2014. All rights reserved.



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