“Mom, I cannot believe the Goldberg’s are getting divorced.” My friend Nancy said, as we sat in her kitchen in Long Island. We were juniors in college, and I was visiting her at her parents’ home.

“Nobody ever expected it.” Her mother said. “Marriage is work. Your dad, he likes cherries. So, when there are cherries in the supermarket, I buy cherries. You have to buy the cherries.”

That’s what love looks like.

Our friends Mark and Debbie were visiting with their kids and Mark made a comment that made me feel like a 50s housewife – his words hurt, and I could still feel the sting as I got into bed that night.

“Honey, Mark made me feel really badly about myself today.” I said to my husband. It was early in our marriage and we were finding our way with two small children. I had just stopped working full-time and was trying to find, or was it maintain, my identity.

“What happened?”

“Remember when I made you the smoothie after your long bike ride this morning? Mark said to Debbie ‘Oh, I can just see that happening in our house. I go for a six-hour bike ride and come home to you making me a smoothie and cleaning it all up.’ I explained to my husband.

“Mark’s voice was dripping in sarcasm and it felt like he was purposely trying to belittle me.”

“You just did something nice for me.”

That’s what love looks like. (Side note, Mark and Debbie are no longer married.)

I sat with my parents, who have been married for over 50 years, in the hospital, waiting for my father to be called in to have a tumor removed from his bladder. They called his name and my parents looked at each other, said I love you and he walked away with the nurse. I looked at my mother as the tears welled up in her eyes.

That’s what love looks like.

I sat with my parents, who have been married for over 50 years, in the hospital, waiting for my mother to be called in to have a tumor removed from her bladder. They called her name and my parents looked at each other, said I love you and she walked away with the nurse. I looked at my father as the tears welled up in his eyes.

That’s what love looks like.

“Scot has Parkinson’s. He has had it for 15 years – since he was 39.” My jaw dropped as my friend Denise told me the news.

“I never told you because he asked me not to. He was looking for a job at the time and thought he would never get hired if someone knew he had a chronic disease.”

“Oh Denise, how could you go through that alone? I feel terrible that I couldn’t be there to support you.” I said.

“You are one of my best friends and I know you would have been there for me, but we were really fine navigating this by ourselves. Every month we would lay out all his meds on a big table and make daily packages for him.”

“Of course, I respect your decision and admire your ability to take that journey just the two of you.”

“It’s not something that he can hide anymore, so I am telling you now. I promise you I was ok not telling anyone. I needed to do that for Scot.”

That’s what love looks like.

This is an email that is sent around every February 8th:

In honor of our dear friend Eric, we would like February 8th to be Eric Schwartz Day. No parade or big celebration – let’s all do an “Eric” thing today. Throw a ball with your kid. Play a practical joke. Wear shorts. Take the top off your car. Go for a run. Sit in a lawn chair in your driveway. Hug your family. Smile. We hold him close every day, but let’s make today special, like he was to all of us.

That’s what love looks like.

When I think of enduring, deeply devoted love, these are the vignettes that play in my head. Love can be shown by larger gestures filled with big red bows and expensive jewelry or mad, passionate sex. In fact, it often is. But most times I just need to remember to buy the cherries.

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