February is the month of love, and tends to give us pause to reflect on our own relationships. Often, I find myself on Valentine’s Day desperately trying to find new and exciting ways to express my love. After 18 years with my husband, two kids, and a stack of bills, the easiest thing to do would be to pick out a card, write XO and call it good. But I want more than that.
I want the excitement.
I want the passion.
I want what we had in the beginning.
Recently, I listened to an episode of Dear Sugar Radio with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond (yes, I have a total crush on Cheryl Strayed), and they spoke to this exact topic. In Episode 4: Making Love, Cheryl read a poem, and it resonated with me so much that I have to share it with you...
by Margaret Atwood
Marriage is not
a house or even a tent
it is before that, and colder;
the edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn
the edge of the receding glacier
where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
we are learning to make fire
This poem suggests the idea of "why" you fell in the love in the first place. Those feelings in the beginnning—the flutters, adrenaline, sexual tension—that make it so special. Even though we can never get those beginning moments back, we need to remember that without that start—that fire—we would never be where we are now. And as Cheryl says, “When we forget to make the fire, love dies.”
In reading, selecting and publishing your stories this month, you’ve also reminded me of the “why” behind Mamalode. It’s you, dear readers, writers, and fans that keep us going. It was our reason from the very beginning, to connect through story telling with passion, truth, and with each other.
And oh my heart, how you carried this passion into February's stories.
You wrote about the freedom in the whirlwind years, how your son refused to take a bottle, and how what you found in the trash could actually tell your story. You bravely wrote about your fears of post-partum sex, and as a single mom, how sex was without wanting. You questioned whether modesty really made men behave better, and if you loved enough.
At times all working moms wanted was more time with their kids, and you were grateful for the unsung hero in your battle with infertility. You found your way in parenting, and answered tough questions about threesomes. Is there room for two and the nighttime creeper, you wondered?
A promise was pledged and the perfect Valentine's Day gift discovered. It may have taken some tears, but you taught him what you want, and savored the fleeting moments. Love poured out of the letters from the war, and a different kind of Valentine. You searched for your next love and found peace after losing a pet. You found the joy in the gray, and prayed your baby would sleep throught the night.
You questioned conformity in school spirit days, and defended love and being a helicopter mom. You learned the value of compassion and why you love to read aloud to your husband. Your days were filled with love and debris.
Most importantly, this month you showed us how to love, find love and be love.
Even from the beginning.