Saturday, November 21, 2015

Love Isn't Soft

Today was the first real snow of 2015, so of course I made cookies. The four and 2 year old argued over who got to add which ingredient and we all ate too much cookie dough and then too many cookies.

Long after they had lost interest, I kept taking those pans in and out of the oven. And then there was the clean up, of course. Wiping crumbs off the counter, sweeping them up from the floor, scrubbing cookie pans while everyone else played outside or watched a movie.

Watching the snow through kitchen panes while scrubbing at stuck on chocolate, I remembered a story Mom told me. How, when we were little, she bent cookie pans by scrubbing too hard, too often. Shining circles on tin bearing witness to the cookies she baked with her own little people.

I rinsed my hands, dried them off and stretched them out before me. Mama hands aren't soft. Winter is coming on fast and the thousands of times a day that I wash my hands mean they'll be dry - rough. Just like hers were. I remember how they felt when we laced fingers together when I was small. Mama hands aren't soft and cookie pans used often enough are riddled with divots where Mamas scrub too hard, too often.

Why do we think love is soft? Love is tender, yes, but love is also hard. Love is rough. Love is still working long after everyone else has moved on. Love is relentlessly bent toward the other.

After the cookie mess is cleaned away, I bathe the baby in the sink. Then I nurse her to sleep, clean my room as she slumbers and sling her up on my back to make supper when she awakens. Love carries on and on and on.

We are raised up to see love as some puffy pink cloudlike heart. Some luxurious bubble bath of sweet smelling fluff. It's only in the trenches of real life that we see what real love requires of us.

Real love is sacrifice. Real love is in the small things. Real love is digging through last years mittens to find him a pair. Real love is letting littles make a big cookie mess when buying a package would not only cost less monetarily, but it would cost less of you. Real love is giving yourself, your time, your life - for someone else. Real love is stretch marks and aching joints and getting up at three a.m. when someone calls your name.

Real love is rough hands. Worn cookie pans. Babies yanking on your hair while you make supper. Real love is scars.

Real love isn't soft.

The most real love of all was nail-scarred, not cloud soft.

Real love is strong. Relentless. Complete.

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