Category Archives: love

10 characteristics that reflect real love

By no means do I claim to be an expert at relationships and love, but my experiences in life – especially in the last few years – have definitely taught me to recognize real love vs. self love (ego). I’ve read about it, talked a lot about it (gotta love therapy) and luckily, experienced both sides. Isn’t that the only way to really learn and appreciate something anyway?

So, in honor of this silly Hallmark holiday we call Valentine’s Day, here’s what I’ve come to recognize as real, selfless love from – or for – another human being. (Or dog… because dogs seem like they got this down long ago…) 

  1. Selfless – even when there’s a desire to be selfishWE
  2. Thoughtful – even when one is “too busy”
  3. Giving – in spirit and time (much more valuable than money or gifts)
  4. Supportive – not jealous or envious
  5. Understanding – not angry, even when passionately arguing
  6. Forgiving – no one is perfect
  7. Attentive –  truly knowing your partner because of it
  8. Reflective – always thinking about how to make the relationship better
  9. Respectful – in voice and actions, under any circumstance
  10. Faithful – always. If you are truly in love, this isn’t difficult

I Love…

  1. the sound of rain on the rooftop on a late summer night
  2. when my son gets excited about learning something new
  3. the way my three dogs take over the furniture
  4. making someone feel so special, they can’t help but beam with smiles
  5. white lights
  6. the look of lemons in a jar
  7. a good glass of wine
  8. getting a card in the mail
  9. that I’ve learned that whole “love is patient and kind, not selfish or boastful” saying actually is true and does exist
  10. seashells
  11. bear hugs
  12. kisses on the forehead
  13. realizing someone is truly a great friend
  14. a pair of sexy high heels and somewhere to wear them
  15. technology
  16. the smell of a baby’s head
  17. puppy breath
  18. water: the ocean, a lake, a pool – just put me in it
  19. food
  20. coffee
  21. the smell and feeling of clean sheets
  22. making jewelry
  23. word games
  24. a fire in the fireplace
  25. oysters
  26. my family
  27. my Ford Expedition – especially when it’s full of sand, beach chairs and towels
  28. my Stand Up Paddleboard
  29. the euphoria of running and finishing a marathon
  30. my sons’ smiles, especially when they are proud of themselves
  31. sparkly things
  32. snowfall
  33. finishing a good book
  34. bravery, not bravado
  35. a good workout
  36. paying bills
  37. working hard
  38. meeting goals
  39. decorating a Christmas tree
  40. a good view
  41. rocking chairs on porches
  42. the color purple
  43. overcoming adversity
  44. helping someone who doesn’t even know you
  45. getting someone that perfect gift that you can barely wait to give it to them
  46. driving fast
  47. seeing clearly
  48. watching something grow
  49. order among chaos
  50. being a Mom

What do you love?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Good People Day – Papa, That’s You

I participate in a micro blogging site called Twitter (if you’re on, you can follow me @missusP). If you don’t know what Twitter is… and you want to learn more, you can read more in various blog posts, online articles or by simply typing “What is Twitter” into any search engine.

Anyway, one of the users I follow, Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee… better known as the Wine Library TV celebrity) has made an Internet plea for today to be “Good People Day.” I’m pretty skeptical about such things…but then I thought of one of the best people in the universe, my Grandfather. If we’re talking good people, I must share his story (which is a post I’ve been meaning to write anyway so this is a good push).

Everyone knows traditional marriage vows include “til death to us part” and “in sickness and in health.” Likewise, we know that today, few people actually keep these commitments (with 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, sadly, these promises have become almost meaningless). My grandfather is a rare, focused and stubborn man who took these vows to a level of commitment few people ever know in their lifetime.

My grandmother was diagnosed with “dementia” (read: Alzheimer’s) in her mid 60s (just like her mother before her). My grandfather watched several heart-breaking years as this horrible disease crept up on her. She knew it at moments when she couldn’t remember her own address, her name, or how to get home. After it overtook her, he tried for many years to take care of her on his own. He had watched his mother-in-law go through a terrible nursing home experience that had soured him greatly.

If you are at all familiar with Alzheimer’s you will understand why he couldn’t keep this care up on his own. Eventually, with the help of family and friends, he did put her in a great nursing home. But, unlike many people in this world who dispose of ill loved one’s like they might drop of a dog at the pound… he remained present every single day.

Every day my grandfather, aka Papa, would arrive at the nursing home at 6 a.m. He would help my grandmother (aka Mimi) get dressed, brush her teeth, comb her hair, etc. He fed her breakfast, lunch and dinner. He made sure she got her “exercise,” took her outside for sunshine, read to her, painted her nails and spent every single day for over a decade taking care of her at the home. He put her to bed before leaving for the day and, although she didn’t talk, eat on her own or show any other signs of interaction, she always puckered up to kiss him back when he asked nicely.

Papa; Mimi

This is not a typical arrangement. The hospital staff knew this and let him “do his thing” – awed by his love and dedication. He befriended many of them over the years – becoming a constant presence in their lives just as much as he was in Mimi’s. He’d teach them about his favorite subjects like jazz music, funny quotes and new books to read. He’d bring them gifts like CDs, flowers, books and more. He brightened not only the lives of my grandmother but everyone in that hospital, every single day.

The level of this dedication could often be misunderstood. Some worried that he spent too much time at the home.. not enough time focusing on his own needs. But this is what made him happy, this is what he promised to do. I know very few people that have upheld such promises in such a tremendous way.

My grandmother passed away in November 2006. My grandfather still goes to the nursing home on a regular basis to visit other patients, friends he’s made along the way, and even use the hospital gym.

I hope you will agree, that’s a good – no, great – person.

Death and Forgiveness

I found out over the weekend that my Grandmother died. For many, a grandparent dying is not a big deal. Often it’s an excuse people use when they are lying about an absence in a college class or important work meeting – or even to gain sympathy in a reality TV show.

The death of my Grandmother signifies the end of many things for me. When my brother called to tell me, I was stoic. I hung up and I sat with it for a while. Then I cried.

I cried for the loss of a life. I cried that it made me think of my own vulnerability. I cried about the anger I’ve had toward her and have been carrying around for nearly 20 years. I cried that I had hung onto it for so long and didn’t forgive her while she was here. I cried for my father who has now lost his second parent and is conflicted with emotions due to a tumultuous relationship with his mother that affected his entire life – including his own children. I cried for many experiences lost and I cried for the good memories I did have – homemade Tapioca pudding, a dog named Tammy, a lakeside home and May Day celebrations (a lost tradition that she taught me about with May poles and May baskets – I remember the neighbors being quite perplexed when I went door-to-door at the age of 7 handing them out).

As I rearrange my work schedule this week and head West for the funeral, I think about what to wear. I laugh for a moment when I realize I’ll be wearing a business suit – because in a way it’s appropriate – the funeral is a business transaction for my soul. The relationship was complicated and many things were left unsaid and undone – memories that can’t be changed, conversations that will never take place.

The finality of death can jolt you. Many times only for a moment. Others for a lifetime. I think about the fact that I didn’t call her on Thursday when my parents told me Hospice had come…

Perhaps she will forgive me, wherever she is, as I forgive her… finally.

Love Your Life

Every other month or so I get together with a wonderful group of women who are in similar fields and own small businesses. The “PR Chix” are each others’ Board, executive team, shoulder to lean on and friends. We share ideas, wisdom, triumphs and heartache. Although I only see these women a few times a year, and always in a a mentor/mentee-type atmosphere, I love and rely on and respect them. Immensely.

At the last meeting we had, one of the women was talking about her summer and how she took some time for herself and spent a good deal of it surfing. She talked of her car full of sand and wet towels, and I felt like I was watching a movie. The other two talked about new romances, skiing, days at the beach and dating. They spoke of how they have both run marathons, international summer travels and going out in Boston.

It was so romantically glorious in my mind, picturing them all so carefree. I said to them, “Your lives are so interesting; you are so lucky, I never go anywhere.” They of course said, “Yeah, but we all want what you have.”

I am the only woman in the group who is married or has children. (Despite this, we have so much in common.) So when I hear of their lives I envy their freedom; when they hear of mine, they envy my stability/family.

When I came home, I told my husband of their adventures and how they all got to go to all these places all summer, had already run marathons (which I want to do), etc.

Boy did I feel dumb when he reminded me of all our travels in the previous year that I had forgotten to mention: San Francisco (All Star Game), Vegas (“Rocktober” with friends), Tampa/St. Petersburg (amazing stay at the Don CeSar Beach Resort with the kids) Hilton Head, Michigan, etc. – both with and without the kids.

And then, a few weeks later when he gave me this amazing gift (which had already been in the works), I felt even more dumb that I had not been more impressed with my own life to share it with my friends.

This is certainly a lesson I will never forget again.