I had always felt loved and I loved my sisters, my mother, my husband and my children – so I thought I knew about Love. I thought I understood that Love was unconditional and not selfish, but I really learned what Love was when my mother, who was disabled due to multiple sclerosis came to live with my young family.
I was pregnant with our fourth child when my mother moved into our small three bedroom house with us. My husband, Pat and I worked opposite shifts so we could afford childcare for our children, which meant he was home with my mother all day – as well as three small children, ages 6, 4 and 2.
Pat helped our children when they fell down – and he picked my mother up when she fell also. Pat cleaned up our children and their messes – and he did the same for my mother. He made a point of visiting her every day when she finally moved to the nursing so she wouldn’t be lonely. He would drag along the children and even take her for a ride to get ice cream on nice days.
I don’t remember Pat ever complaining about how hard it was to handle three babies and a disabled 54-year-old woman. He only talked about what needed to be done – and as far as he was concerned Love was always the answer. Love was needed to help the children understand what was going on with their grandmother (or GiGi as she preferred to be called). Love was needed to help GiGi understand what was happening with her condition. Love was needed to help me deal with the sadness of losing my mother to this disease. Love was needed to help all of us together as a family.
There are many husbands who would have run from this scenario or tried to push the responsibilities on to another person, but Pat did all of this because of Love – love for me, love for our children – and even love for my mother. He taught me that Love is about doing what is right even if it is inconvenient and tiring. He taught me that Love is strong when it has to be in the face of seemingly insurmountable tasks. He taught me that Love knows no age, no barriers and transcends everything else. He taught me that Love may not solve all the world’s problems – but it sure makes them easier to handle. I only hope I have learned enough to Love the way he does.