How do I love thee (let me count the ways)

There’s some pretty deep dialogue being had round the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop – we’ve just had our third week and the responses here and, well, pretty much anywhere that folk have joined in, have been phenomenal.

And in spite of a great conversation with my (slightly bitchy, actually) Sub-Conscious, the trend I picked up in myself both over the weekend and at larger, recently, was a tendency to ‘love’ things.

To give you a proper, thorough grounding in Love and all it stands for, I can go to no higher authority than this:

Let me count the ways I have ‘loved’ this weekend (“ONE (one thousand); TWO (one thousand)”)

[Though before I start, I’d like to add a small disclaimer to the effect that it’s probably not an extensive list and in some places not even a serious one. In some places highly serious – that’s how I roll and you’re welcome to try to keep up.]

 “Love you”

I’m thrilled that I’ve had cause to say this so much this weekend. I’ve whispered it to Husby across the pillow. I’ve said it in goodbyes accompanied by big hugs to my Mum and WonderAunty. I’ve murmured it in the ears of oft-resisting Niece and Neff, who this weekend showed a strength of sibling-relationship which totally blew me away (Niece was sad and frightened by something that happened and Neff, completely off his own bat, gave her his favourite bear (the fabulously-named ‘Mezzabezzawezza’) to hold, hugged her and found a safe, quiet corner where the two could snuggle up together). I’ve called it out to Sis over my shoulder while leaving hers to return home after a short-but-sustaining visit of the kind only experienced between sisters who hated one another but came to rely on one another and now have a deep and abiding friendship in addition to siblingship.

This kind of love is the one which desires to be like that in 1 Corinthians 13 – the untiring, ever-patient, ever-giving, non-judgemental sort. An aspirational kind of love, but a love so deep it is a part of my being. Without these wonderful, amazing people in my life, I would be so much the poorer and my soul that much smaller for not having them to stretch it, help it grow and luxuriate in our relationships.

It’s the kind of love which is sometimes the hardest thing in the world to keep working at (it’s a verb, y’know, this one) and the one I have most often felt like giving up on with one or another of the relationships, but the one which is possibly the most rewarding as I see myself succeed, fail and succeed again, but always grow, always understand more about what it means to love in this way: the one I learn each day how to do better, how to keep going and in the end, love more deeply.

“I loved this”

This is less deep, less emotional due to the more superficial state of the relationships it concerned. Largely this was a comment I posted (with gay abandon, one might accuse) on the blogs of the hoppers and comment-joiner-inners who participate in the hop over the weekend. But just because the relationship isn’t so deep, the sentiment is genuine. I have been humbled and awed by the manner and variety of Things that folks are Thankful for, and that they’ve made the time to take part, share the Good in their lives and make this corner of the Blogosphere a more joyful place.

There hasn’t been a single response to the hop in which nothing has resonated – every offering has contained something amazing – something which has made my life better as I’ve been privileged to read it and celebrate it with the person to whom it first happened.

“LOVE her!”

Said very noisily in my head and sometimes (more quietly) out loud or in instant messaging, with an exclamation of joy, giddiness and wonder that somehow I know or know of such awesome women. It’s loud, it’s camp and it pretends to be *highly* superficial so as not to be mistaken for Real Feelings, though in fact this is an absolute cover up for genuine admiration and affection.

This weekend it’s applied to Carol Burnett, whose blooper episodes and Star Trek spoof had me nearly breaking my ribs and suffocating myself at 3am trying not to wake everyone up with my laughing; Christine, who first introduced her to me and made me realise how much my life has been missing, and Kristi, who I shared the Star Trek spoof with, and we both laughed ourselves silly over Facebook chat.

“Love her…”

This one said wistfully, with pain and soul-tears pouring from my thwarted heart.

It’s not a relationship love, because you can’t have a relationship with someone when you’ve only seen their photograph. It’s something very different and not something I feel at all confident about categorising…

It was the eyes which grabbed me first, then the expressions – the wide, beguiling smile from Violetta and the sad, slightly bewildered look on Gretchen’s face. Of all the children on the Reece’s Rainbow’s site, these two girls had me, hook, line and sinker.

I explored adopting them, or one of them, with such high hopes, but from all sides the answer came back “No.”

No – because I don’t have a qualifying connection to their country(s) of origin
No – because we can’t afford it
No – because the UK doesn’t ‘do’ international Special Needs adoptions

So now I nurture my one-sided love and I cry and I pray. That their lives aren’t too terrible. That they receive at least some affection. That it’s not too late – that they haven’t already been sent from the orphanages to the mental institutions where they will wait out the rest of their blighted lives (I fear this is the case for sweet Violetta, which breaks my heart over and over, but I’ve not had confirmation yet – I was told by a recent visitor to her orphanage that they’d not seen her there nor been shown her paperwork as an option to adopt…). Mostly I pray that they will be rescued – that their ‘Forever Family’ will spot them and fall in love and make every effort to bring them into a warm, loving home where they can heal and thrive and begin to enjoy life from within secure, warm, lasting relationships.

This love, too, is very hard at times.

“I do love you”

This one said with full depth of meaning in a message to my best friend in the world. We’ve known one another for nigh on 14 years (nearly half our lifetimes!) and have become closer and closer every year of same. We’ve had our (very) few fallings out. We’ve had our tender, sorrowful moments. We’ve had our long, thoughtful moments. Mostly we’ve had vast conversations, more fun than you could shake a clown-coloured-stick at and about a million cups of tea. She is one of the people who knows all the layers of my self. She is right there in the Inner Circle and I am blessed by her presence in my life.

“LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!”

Incomplete without the full complement of nine exclamation marks, this was spouted repeatedly after watching the aforementioned Star Trek spoof, which I now charge you with watching. Right now. Preferably twice.

I truly hope you “LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!” too.

“The first boy I loved was an acrostic”

Yes, it really was, but this love was not so much about relationship as one of my early introductions into the exciting, addicting, hopelessly wonderful world of books, where I can find knowledge, encouragement, entertainment, solidarity, fascination and escape – escape – escape.

Escape into worlds as yet unknown and soon absorbed in their entirety into my mind; worlds nearly as familiar as my own, re-entered and revelled in; worlds which confused me and were put to one side; worlds which helped to make sense of things (like higher maths, the formation of the dung beetle and why the number ‘0’ was so revolutionary) and worlds of fun.


(Kidding, I’ve never used this, nor would I!)

I dare you to count the ways you’ve loved this weekend…

(now part of the Tuesday Twitter Party)


24 thoughts on “How do I love thee (let me count the ways)

  1. Well if you ever feel like it, we'd be very pleased to have you join us.

    It's so sweet when small children look after each other in ways which we as adults sometimes forget to. I should try to emulate their gentleness sometime.

    I hope you enjoy Roger Rabbit if you get the chance to indulge – it's such fun.


  2. Oh, I loved this! I may have to join you all some Sunday, if I can turn off my self-imposed “No Blogging on the Weekends Rule!” The scene between your niece and nephew was beautiful- my daughters have been taking care of each other in that way lately, and it melts my heart. And, oh how I love Roger Rabbit! Haven't watched it in years- you've inspired me! And you have such a big heart- I'm sorry it won't work out with the children you have the one-sided love for, and they are lucky to have your love just the same…


  3. Good. Because I feel sad and frustrated and infuriated about it. And I feel impotent to do anything. I know there are kids in the system here who also need homes, and one day I hope we will provide that…and yet…my heart belongs first to these girls in their so very dire situation and WHY won't my damn country let me help them?


  4. So many ways to love…some very deep, some very light. Sometimes I almost feel silly using the word with a lighthearted meaning in mind, but you put it so well here! It is ok to do that…just realize the way you mean it.


  5. Oh wow! Does he? I've actually never used it in real life, nor do I know anyone who does…thank goodness! You'll have to think of some biting riposte for when he does it again.

    And you're welcome – I've loved reading your posts 🙂 So glad Jak brought you here.



    And no. It's totally devastating. I can only assume it's because of the NHS – were we in a country where we paid for our own healthcare, we'd be fine. They [the government] want to present as few opportunities as possible for taxpayer money to be used for good on those who are 'not their own'

    (is that too bitchy? Oh well…)


  7. Oh gawrsh THAT'S the phrase I was trying to remember! Thanks Cyndi.

    It sounds like you've had an amazing weekend – what wonderful things to be part of. And YAY for your friend's new last name – has she seen Carol Burnett? If not, there's an easy way for you to make her day at some point.

    Thanks for sharing those nuggets of wonderfulness.


  8. I'm sure there are many more I've not covered or not experienced yet – these were just such a small snapshot and I was struck how many were represented in my life in such a short period.


  9. Happy Monday to you, too – pretty much made my weekend, what with the hop and sharing laughs with you. It's been an awesome one.

    And yes – I really need to get my butt in gear on those letters to MPs…I think it's time.


  10. That Carol Burnett clip?? I LOVE it!! So funny!

    The thing you wrote about the adoption of Violetta and Gretchen broke my heart 😦 Is there really nothing that can be done? How can it be that someone wants to care for these beautiful girls and is not allowed to do so because of some bureaucratic restrictions??


  11. Is that a triple-double-dog dare? Haha. What a wonderful weekend: applying to finish my master's degree and getting accepted immediately, went to a wedding (incidentally, my friend's new last name is Burnett, haha), and celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday. Awesomeness. Thank you for letting me recount it here. 🙂


  12. Loved this and LOVE Carol Burnett and thank you for sharing her with me – best laugh of the weekend. Love having those cheek-hurting, side-aching laughs. Got them from you and appreciate it. So much love this weekend for sure! I believe your brilliant 10 Things hop had quite a bit to do with it.
    And I still think that there must be SOMETHING that can be done to get the decision makers in charge of adoptions to realize how restrictive and awful their rules are. Having rules that interfere with people forming loving families due to borders and dollars is just so very wrong…
    Happy Monday, friend!


  13. Sometimes the little things in life – the almost-throwaway ones – are the ones which have the most impact. It's been a revelation.

    YES! To watching/re-watching Carol Burnett. YES! To blogging and YES! To sharing the joy.


  14. To think, a simple answer in a comment could lead to such love and laughter! I'm grateful for your interest, as it has gotten me to rewatch some of these skits. Oh, how I laugh!
    Such a lovely post. 🙂 So much love going around this weekend, you want to shout it from the rooftops.


  15. I can see four kinds of love just in your reply – you have risen to the challenge admirably. Your contribution to the blog hop was awesome and I'm so pleased (and grateful) that you join in with us.

    Putting the important stuff, the Good stuff and the wonderful stuff is *so* important. It bonds us and helps us grow communities. Makes us care. It's an amazing thing to be part of.


  16. Yup, I love this and I have really had a great weekend. Love really was all over with my husband and my kids (and all we did this weekend). I have to admit that I am loving being able to have more down time on my weekends now, especially since the weather is finally so very summer-like. And a huge thank you again for hosting the Thankful Things hop, because I really do look forward to being able to put into words what I am thankful for all weekend long now!! 🙂


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