Valentine’s Day. Flowers and candy. Balloons. Romantic gestures. Declarations of love. And then there was my day.
I woke up this morning to my nine year old grandson wishing me a Happy Valentine’s Day. He got snowed in with me on Friday. We have watched movies, played in the snow, baked cookies, read books, and played way too many games of Jumping Monkeys.
Then I got a call telling me that the group home where my two autistic sons live has been without power for over 24 hours. My sons hadn’t been able to call me because their cordless phone wouldn’t work. The regular staff had not been able to get to work, and I could not get the relief staff on the phone.
I checked the utility’s website – no power expected for two more days. Two more days in the dark with no heat.
So love kicked in. I called my daughter who was just sitting down to breakfast. She dropped everything, dug her car out of the snow, and drove to my house to pick us up. We dropped her son off at a friend’s who was happy to help out, and headed to the group home. When we got there, we found the guys agitated but overall in good shape.
I decided to bring them home with me. My daughter helped the relief staff find necessary items We packed them up and headed back. We had to stop at the store to get enough food for several days. One son was scared to walk on the ice in the parking lot. I watched as my daughter took her 35 year old brother’s hand in hers and guided him safely inside. She maneuvered everyone through the shopping and back out to the car.
Returning to my house, she helped unload the car and get everything put away before going to get her son and driving home, now on roads icy with freezing rain.
From the time she left her breakfast on the table until she was back home was over six hours. Not the way she planned to spend her day. But I heard not one word of complaint. Nothing except a willingness to help, with patience and grace and kindness.
Wow. That is love. Forget the flowers and candy. This is the love that counts, that makes my eyes tear up with relief, my heart break open in gratitude, and my knees weak with humble blessedness.
May all of us give and receive love today and all days. Real love. Offering kindness to loved ones and strangers, receiving help when needed, remembering what is important, and appreciating all the ways that love shows up in our lives.