More than 137 years ago, my great grandparents Amand and Estelle Fey received “The Stages of Love” as a wedding present. That sweet series of five painted postcards hung in their house for 68 years, until Estelle died at 87 and Amand followed two weeks later. He was 90.
My mom loved the artwork as a child and brought it home with her after her grandpa’s funeral. She has hung it on the wall of every house she has lived in ever since. In fact, it’s hanging there now.
I saw it as I visited recently, and I thought it would make a perfect series for this blog.
So, for the next five posts, I’m going to write about C. Clyde Squires’ five stages of love. They are: Mother Love, Puppy Love, Accepted Love, Binding Love and Undying Love.
Let’s start with Mother Love
At first the bouquet he held completely obscured my tiny friend Dominic, so all I could see were a big bunch of flowers and a small pair of winter boots below them as they clomped their way down the hallway towards us.
Then, he poked his head out, grinned widely and said to his mother, who happened to be standing next to me, “Do you like your flowers Mama?”
He looked so proud standing there delivering his mother her Valentines Day flowers that I welled up. I’m a sucker for cute four-year olds and my friend Dominic is among the cutest and the four-year-oldest little guys I know.
The pictures his mom Kari shares with me of him and his two-year old twin siblings Mannix and Emma make my day, so you can imagine what a real live Valentine’s Day visit did.
Kari and her husband Jeff are raising their little peanuts with the kind of love and laughter that increases exponentially as it transcends their home. They leave a trail of smiles in their wake as they make their way through crowded places like malls and farmer’s markets. All three kids have the kind of squinchy smiles that coax reciprocal grins out of even the crabbiest folks.
Not every day rolls out smoothly. The family recently recovered from a rolling bout of stomach flu that kept the washing machines and scrub buckets hopping. Even then, especially then, the Mother Love in that family remained strong.
“Ah well,” Kari said, as she cheerfully recounted a weekend in which even the family’s two dogs threw up, “It is what it is.
I think Kari and her little people epitomize the kind of Mother Love depicted in Squires’ painting. Kari and Dominic even look like the mother and son he painted (though neither is much for the flouncy ruffles of the Victorian age).
I think, as you scroll through the following guaranteed-to-make-you-smile photos, you’ll agree.