What Love Is…Really

I was up, showered, dressed and ready–even had on makeup!–before the kids came down for breakfast. That was an colossal feat for this not-a-morning-person mama. But this wasn’t any ordinary day. This was Mom’s Valentine Tea at my son’s preschool.

Yes, I was excited to wear cute shoes and curl my hair, but what coaxed me out of bed this morning were the visions of my little guy and myself chatting it up with his friends and their moms just as his sister and I had done a couple years before. My perfect daydream was then interrupted by the sound of my son bounding down the stairs. When I looked up, I could not believe my eyes. There, before me, stood my son in his favorite sweats and Avengers T-shirt.

While Valentine's Day is about flowers and cards and candy and hearts, love isn't really about any of those things. | www.thereisgrace.com

Teachable Moment

“Is that what you’re wearing to school?” I asked as nonchalantly as I could.

“Yup” he replied matter-of-factly, not even considering that The Incredible Hulk might not be appropriate attire for a Mother-Son Valentine Tea.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from his older sister, it’s to choose my battles wisely, especially when they involve wardrobe selection. My mantra has always been, If it’s modest and weather-appropriate, it’s not worth the battle. So, I bit my tongue.

Still, there was no hiding my disappointment from my husband.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Have you seen what your son is wearing?” (yes, his son)

No further explanation was needed.

“I’m on it,” was his response, and he quickly exited the room to track down “his” son. He swept our little guy back upstairs, and I heard glimpses of great wisdom being imparted…

“This is a special day…”

“Mommy is going to your school…”

“You want to look nice for Mommy when she comes to your school, right?”

A few minutes later, they came back down the stairs and my little man was dressed like this…


Your heart just melted a little bit, didn’t it? Mine sure did.

My husband recognized something that in my disappointment I had missed: a teachable moment. He was teaching our son about manhood and how a man treats a lady, but the greater lesson was about love itself.

Love Is…

Valentine’s Day is about flowers and cards and candy and hearts, but love isn’t really about any of those things. Those things express our feelings of love. But love is so. much. more. More than cards. More than flowers. More than a feeling.

Love is about putting someone else before yourself.

Love is sitting through two and a half hours of non-stop singing because your wife is a sucker for a good story.

Love is not just saying “in sickness and in health,” but living it out.

Love is holding a scared child in the night or rising early to make a special breakfast.

Love is wearing a button-up shirt and vest when you really want to wear Iron Man. πŸ™‚


But love isn’t just the sacrifices we make for those closest to us.

It’s also taking a meal to someone recovering from surgery or sickness.

It’s stopping in the middle of your day to help or speak encouragement to someone in need.

It’s taking the time to write a note, e-mail, or text to a friend.

Jesus explained it this way,

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

As you think about love this Valentine’s Day, you don’t have to jump in front of a bus for someone to show your love. You don’t have to take a bullet. You don’t even need to have a Valentine. You can show a little love by simply putting someone else’s needs or desires above your own.

22 thoughts on “What Love Is…Really

  1. He loves like a little man in his vest. Sweet!!!

    You are so right. It is not chocolate and roses with all the commercialism. LOVE is 365 days a year and not just for 1 day. GOD is true LOVE!!

    GOD BLESS!!!

  2. Awww, I really loved this! Your little man is so handsome and it’s clear that he really loves his mama. You know, your wisdom here made me think about how often as a tired and over-scheduled writer mom I tend to put my own desires before those of my loved ones. While my heart may be well intentioned in wanting a little quiet time with the Lord first thing in the morning, every once in a while I SHOULD set that aside (I can always reschedule for later in the day) and make a special breakfast for my family before everyone heads out the door. Honey Nut Cheerios are great, and so are those toaster waffles, but oh how I’d make my family smile if they got a special breakfast of bacon and eggs and hash browns on a weekday!! And how often I tell my husband, “eh, I’m kinda tired honey” when he’s had a long day and just needs to be loved. I really need to slow down and be present in the relationships I have between the walls of my home. I love them so much, but do they really know that? I guess I better make sure they do. Thanks for inspiring me, my friend. πŸ™‚

  3. another great posting. I stopped at a $ store today to buy a red dry erase marker to write I LOVE YOU on our bathroom mirror for valentines day,,,OK….OK….I got two more days to find one. LOVE….the most important thing in our galaxy and the entire universe! pk

  4. Great post! I remember my son dressed like that and I could just melt again! My best moment of love shown towards me was recently for my birthday….a girlfriend I had not connected with in a while called me on my birthday and left a sweet message. I got many birthday wishes on social media but the personal phone call was the best!

  5. Oh, Nancy, what a beautiful post. You nailed it and, yes, that adorable boy melted my heart, all dressed up. Your husband is a wonderful father, I can tell.

  6. I love the sweetness that oozes from his smile for you! Thanks for sharing and reminding me of those sweetness moments with my son not so many moons ago. πŸ™‚

    Visiting from Lyli’s blog today!


  7. So beautifully put. Your husband/son exchange, cutest thing ever. Definitely a teaching moment and a cute father/son moment. I agree love is putting someone else first and not complaining or wanting recognition for the efforts.

  8. What a great lesson taught, and what a wonderful husband to see the moment in which to teach it! I’m so glad you shared this with Cozy Reading Spot!


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