Love is doing the dishes. And cleaning the apartment when the mess is stressing you out. Love is trying to stay on top of these things so that it doesn’t get to the point where it stresses you out—it’s just tricky sometimes when you live with a little girl who moves through space like a tornado intent on transforming, reorganizing, creatively redeploying, and otherwise repurposing everything she touches.
Love is sleeping on the couch while the trucks rumble by like 18 tonne tumbleweeds composed of scrap metal on the road outside our front window because my snoring, too, is like an 18 tonne tumbleweed—only this time composed of grizzlies and orcas forever locked together in mortal combat—and you need to get a good night’s sleep so you’re not too tired at work tomorrow. Love is being happy to be on the couch knowing that you’re just two rooms away. And when I sleep, you’re only as far as the next dream.
Love is having a quiet moment to myself and wanting nothing more than to write you a poem to say that I love you.
Love is putting on The Bachelorette so that you can watch the show and I can watch you and pretend that I’m watching the show when you look over at me. Love is being astounded that you, you, Jessica, are even here at all on the couch beside me. How did I get so lucky? How is this even possible?
Love is waiting to use the bathroom until you’re done in the bath.
Love is teaching myself to pay attention to things that I never paid attention to before because they are things that matter to you. In this regard, amongst other things, love is making sure I actually clean up *all* the hair I leave around the sink after shaving, instead of just cleaning up enough of the hair to make the sink look, mostly clean or clean enough (apparent “clean enough” for me is not the same standard as “clean enough” for most other people).
Love is not putting on my music while we putter around so that you can play your playlist.
Love is learning all the little things that annoy you and drive you crazy and then only doing them sometimes.
And, as you fall asleep, love is lightly scratching the back that you turn to face me and singing the songs I make up about you and our love and this tender, wondrous, ridiculous, and oh so precious life we share together. Love is not caring that my voice cracks and that I don’t always (or often?) hit the notes I aim for. Love is not caring that my lyrics don’t flow or rhyme, and not caring that I hardly know what I’m going to say until I say it. I have never known a love that moved me to spontaneously burst into song, but now that I know it, how could I not sing? Love is singing anyway.
Love is all day, every day, it’s sacred and mundane. It’s an adventure and a homecoming, a teaching and a game. It’s a glacier and a mountain, and the intimacy of how one rises and falls while the other flows. It’s a boat and an ocean, and we’ve barely left port. Once you find it, it’s everywhere.
Love is what we are and what we do. Love is us.