n. a passionate affection for another person; a strong liking for something or someone.
Of course this week’s word is love. It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow.
Love Love Love. It’s all about love.
Ah yes, Valentine’s Day. The day when my single friends lament not having someone to love, and my attached friends lament that they never get the last piece of pie. Although, I married a fabulous man who hates pie. Ha.
No, I am not making fun of Valentine’s Day. I am a sucker for hearts and flowers just like the next girl, and I am ALL about spreading love. I think the world needs it. Its just that, as I’ve grown older and have lived through a few things, my definition of love has changed. A lot. I don’t look at it any more as the romance and the poetry and the bling, I look at it as the courage to stand in another’s corner as you would stand in your own. That doesn’t have to be romantic love, although it can be. It can also be for a child, for a parent, for a sibling, for a friend.
One of my greatest lessons about love came from my kids’ pediatrician.
It was New Year’s eve 2015. We were about to ring in 2016 and my family had just returned from a quick getaway to Old Montreal (my personal creative mothership) over Christmas.
Somewhere between Montreal and Toronto, something went terribly wrong for my older daughter. I have shared in my blog before that my daughter lives with bipolar disorder. Through medical intervention, it is something that she manages extremely well, but bipolar disorder is a beast, and it can raise its head without warning. Such was the case on this evening. My daughter fell into a severe depressive state unlike anything we had seen before. And we had seen a lot.
“We need to get her help,” I said to Kevin. But honestly, I didn’t know what that looked like. It was 6 p.m. on New Year’s eve. None of her medical team would be available and I didn’t expect them to be.
We stood in her room looking at each other, when I took the notion to call Dr. Marvin. Marvin Gans had looked after my girls as kids, and as such, he had become an invaluable confidant to me. He was aware of my daughter’s diagnosis although he no longer was their primary caregiver as they were now older. That said, I wondered if I could get his advice.
Within 10 minutes of calling him, I got just that.
“Dr. Marvin, I said,” I don’t know what to do,” after telling him the story. “It’s bad. Tell me what to do.”
“You want to know what to do,” he asked?
“Yes,” I said, “please.”
“Nothing. You do nothing. You and I love this child way too much to try to decide what she needs right now. You put her in the car and take her to the ER and let them tell you what she needs.”
“Sometimes in life you need to separate the love from the help,” Marvin continued. ‘You and I can love her. The professionals will help her.”
So we did just that. My daughter would spend a week in the hospital before she was feeling well enough to return home. Truth be told, it was a turning point for her, and she came out of the experience stronger than ever. Today she is thriving.
It really is everywhere, and it isn’t always about wine and roses. More often than not, it is about meeting someone exactly where they are. It is about giving someone what they need to be them, and it is something we all share with someone, whether we are married, single, or eat pie.
Who do you love?