Through some super enjoyable volunteer work I treasure for the humanitarian aspects and literary inspiration, I often end up observing how people of different ages talk about love. On this Valentine’s Day, I’m delighted to share some of these serendipitous findings with you, beloved readerfriend.

words that mean l-o-v-e when you’re little:


(as in “pretty please always pick me for recess soccer and always remember my birthday and always know that no matter what I’m on your side 100% forever and ever to the moon and back”)


(even if it’s under the table, even if it’s just because you know I’m scared)


(the dependable kind, the “worst day in the world melts away like the snowman we made last winter” kind, the kind that wears me out, the kind that makes me go very loud then very quiet, the kind that makes you call me “the silent hyena”)


(in the rain, in the car, in the waiting room, with my brother, as Mom makes spaghetti, while we brush teeth before bed, with Dad after making 10 free throws in a row, as in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, dance!; we do it because love fills us head to toe and the only way to show it is to shake shake shake)

words that mean l-o-v-e when you’re figuring it out:


(Real life transcript: “He texted back! He’s asked me to dinner. But on Sunday. Dinner on Sunday? Maybe we’re just friends? Oh wait, another text. No. Not just friends. He’s been thinking about me. Thinking what? Oh no, I can’t ask that. That’d be fishing. Boys hate when you fish. Unless you, you know, fish-fish. But that’s gross.”)


(for Valentine’s, for our date-anniversary, and our sex-anniversary, for birthdays, for Christmas and Hanukkah, for “just because,” but no matter when or why it’s always with thought, with purpose, with calculation, with obligation, with anxiety, with hope)


(romantic & primal, at my place & his, before dinner & before brunch, passionate & snoozy, selfless & selfish, creative & dependable, but always, always susceptible to analysis)


(bathed in uncertainty, the term makes us shudder, but we think, we ache, we wonder, will she be “The She,” will he be “The He,” will I be someone’s One, and when I am, will it work? Will it work forever? It must work forever.)

words that mean l-o-v-e when you’re big:


(the distilled, proven, earned, non-negotiable, unquestionable, unwavering version of “always know that no matter what I’m on your side 100% forever and ever to the moon and back”)


(even if it’s when I’ve hurt you, even if it’s because we’re both scared)


(mostly, now, at our selves, and it’s rich and hearty and honest and more hilarious than any of the rest and it wouldn’t ever happen without our history, without the beautiful acknowledgment that only you “knew me when” and that makes the only difference that matters)


(at our wedding for all to see, in our bedroom for no one to see, with our newest cat, with our friend when he earned that promotion or met that girl or won that trip, in the kitchen after the final dish is washed, with the baby in your arms, at our children’s weddings, at our grandchildren’s weddings, when we don’t know what else to do, when we have nothing else to do, even if it’s just the tap of a tired foot….)

happy valentine's, my love.

happy valentine’s, my love.




Please feel free to share your thoughts here! xo
  1. Diane Lopez says:

    Beautiful…..simply beautiful!

  2. That could not have been put or said any better and who better to say it. Beautiful


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