What Love Means

What Love Means

Yesterday, author Amy Krouse Rosenthal — who wrote the viral New York Times essay You May Want to Marry My Husband — died from ovarian cancer. I saw on Jenny’s site that Rosenthal had also published a memoir called Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, in which she wrote entries about everyday life, organized from A to Z. These two excerpts were especially moving:

Under “L”

LOVE – If you really love someone, you want to know what they ate for lunch or dinner without you. Hi, sweetie, how was your day, what did you have for lunch? Or if your mate was out of town on business: How was your trip, did the meeting go well, what did you do for dinner? Jason will stumble home in the wee hours from a bachelor party, and as he crawls into bed I’ll pry myself from sleep long enough to mumble, how was the party, how was the restaurant beforehand? The meal that has no bearing on the relationship appears to be breakfast. I can love you and not know that when you were in Cincinnati last Wednesday you had yogurt and a bagel.

Under “R”

RETURNING TO LIFE AFTER BEING DEAD – When I am feeling dreary, annoyed and generally unimpressed by life, I imagine what it would be like to come back to this world for just a day after having been dead. I imagine how sentimental I would feel about the very things I once found stupid, hateful or mundane. Oh, there’s a light switch! I haven’t seen a light switch in so long! I didn’t realize how much I missed light switches! Oh! Oh! And look – the stairs up to our front porch are still completely cracked! Hello cracks! Let me get a good look at you. And there’s my neighbor, standing there, fantastically alive, just the same, still punctuating her sentences with you know what I’m saying? Why did that bother me? It’s so… endearing.

Aren’t these beautifully true? The second one reminds me of Nora Ephron’s lists of What I Won’t Miss (dry skin, funerals, bras…) and What I’ll Miss (my kids, waffles, the concept of waffles…). Both heartbreaking and life affirming to think about what yours would be.

P.S. How to write a condolence note, and what marriage means.

(Photo by Nikole Herriott/Instagram. Excerpts via Jenny Rosenstrach.)

  1. So romantic!

  2. Alex says...

    This has been one of my favorite books for years. I keep a copy next to my bed and if I ever feel sad I open it up. My favorite one is NPR.

  3. Carly says...

    I’m nursing my daughter to sleep and trying so hard not to wake her as I sit here in the dark, with her sound machine on, crying. beautiful. and so sad.

  4. Xus says...

    Feeling so grateful! Thanks, Joanna

  5. Natalie says...

    I actually (somewhat) knew Amy- her kids went to a summer camp that I nannied at. There were so many kids books that I’d flat out refuse to read after the 100th time, but her books were always my favorites! She was so kind in person, too.

  6. Steph says...

    I enjoyed reading this the other day. Last night, I got a text from my boyfriend (who is traveling) asking what I had for dinner. I would have never thought twice about this text until reading this and it made me smile so I sent this along to him :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is really sweet, steph.

  7. This post is beautiful.

    It reminded me of a piece by William Martin (from The Parent’s Tao Te Ching), that I discovered when I was pregnant. It has since become a bit of a mantra for my husband and I when we reflect on how we want to raise our daughter.

    ““Do not ask your children
    to strive for extraordinary lives.
    Such striving may seem admirable,
    but it is the way of foolishness.
    Help them instead to find the wonder
    and the marvel of an ordinary life.
    Show them the joy of tasting
    tomatoes, apples and pears.
    Show them how to cry
    when pets and people die.
    Show them the infinite pleasure
    in the touch of a hand.
    And make the ordinary come alive for them.
    The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

    • Rachel says...

      This is such a pretty piece. I immediately wrote it down on a sticky note. I have often felt pressured (mostly from myself) to lead an “extraordinary” life – and feel saddened when my everyday activities (office job, etc) don’t yield amazing life altering results. But when I look at it from this perspective, I have an incredible ordinary life. (I’m definitely going to order this book, and going to follow your blog!)

  8. Your newsletter just popped into my inbox and sent me off to read My Son, The Zebra. I found it so haunting. Rosenthal’s “R” is equally so. I have three small children, just 3 years apart, and I find myself constantly rushing through life, trying to stay on top of everything. In doing so, I am of course actually missing everything. Both these pieces are jarring reminders of what is actually important in life. Thank you for sharing them!

  9. Sheila says...

    This is so funny how people do the same things. My husband is a chef and is at work most nights. When we all (us and our two daughters) get up in the morning, he always asks what we had for dinner last night. I always thought it was a chef thing, but apparently not. :)

  10. Celeste says...

    Holy cow. Those excerpts punched me in the gut. How tender!

    • Carly says...

      YES. punched in the gut describes it so perfectly.

  11. Kasi says...

    I’m a children’s librarian and Amy Krouse Rosenthal always been an author I feel connected with. Reading her New York Times piece, hearing of her passing, it’s been heartbreaking for us. I realized after her death that my storytime plans for this week include one of her books and considered taking it out in case I got emotional in front of the children, but I’ve kept it in and I’m glad I did. Rest in peace, Amy. I’ll continue to read Little Pea to my patrons far too frequently.

  12. Alexandra Marie says...

    This reminds me of Emily’s monologue in Our Town:
    “I can’t bear it. They’re so young and beautiful. Why did they ever have to get
    old? Mama, I’m here. I’m grown up. I love you all, everything. – I cant look at everything hard enough. (pause, talking to her mother who does not hear her. She speaks with mounting urgency) Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me. Mama, fourteen years have gone by. I’m dead. You’re a grandmother, Mama. I married George Gibbs, Mama.
    Wally’s dead, too. Mama, his appendix burst on a camping trip to North Conway. We felt just terrible about it – don’t you remember? But, just for a moment now we’re all together. Mama, just for a moment we’re happy. Let’s look at one another. (pause, looking desperate because
    she has received no answer. She speaks in a loud voice, forcing herself to not look at her mother) I can’t. I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. (she breaks down sobbing, she looks around) I didn’t realize. All that was going on in life and we never noticed. Take me back – up the hill – to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look. Goodby,
    Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover’s Corners? Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking? and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths? and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you. (she asks abruptly through her tears) Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? – every,
    every minute? (she sighs) I’m ready to go back. I should have listened to you. That’s all human beings are! Just blind people.”
    I loved that NYT column and I can’t wait to check out her other works.

    • Kate says...

      I really love this.

  13. Kimberly Stuart says...

    This makes me ache. I didn’t know AKR was ill, and her death is such a loss. I read _Encyclopedia…_years ago, and I love it still. And her _Little Pea_ was a perennial favorite at our house, first with our eldest and all through the years until we were a family of five. Thank you for linking to the Modern Love piece. What a beautiful, bone-deep tribute to a love that stayed put, even when things fell down all around.

  14. Emily says...

    Oh my. Heartbreaking and lovely and heartbreaking. You always point us toward the most moving things and I’m so grateful.

  15. Leanne says...

    How moving. The way she defines love is a big part of the way my husband and I communicate, so that is a warm fuzzy feeling for my morning.

    The second entry reminds me so much of It’s a Wonderful Life! It really is, we need just realize it:)

    • Yes, It’s a Wonderful Life, completely!

  16. Kellie P. says...

    Awe, the Love one made me tear up. Throughout high school, I had the job of picking my little brother up from elementary school. He’d climb into the car each afternoon and I would say: “Hi buddy! What did you have for lunch today?” Then he would sweetly tell me what the cafeteria had been serving. It was our little love language. :)

  17. So unbelievably sweet & touching. Reminds us all to savor the little things and ask all the questions.

  18. Molly says...

    My mom ALWAYS asks me if I have eaten, what I had for dinner, “have you eaten?” It’s one of the ways she shows her love, I guess. I just reserved both of Amy’s books at the library and I can’t wait to read them.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! my mom, too. and she’s the only person who (really, truly) cares what kind of burrito i’m thinking of ordering, or what i’m going to make for dinner when i’m home alone, etc. etc. one of the best things about moms :)

    • June says...

      This is the thing I missed the most when my grandmother died. She used to call me almost everyday and ask about food. What are you making for dinner?, she would ask? Despite the fact that I had a husband and children it seemed like she was the only one who cared what I was actually making for dinner and the work that went into it.

    • Laura says...

      EVERY TIME I go on the phone with my dad he asks me what I’ve eaten and what I plan to eat later. I’ve always found it kind of funny, but geeze okay dad I’ll go along with this What Laura is Eating game.

      Now I’m finding it endearing.

  19. Lisa T. says...

    “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life” is one of my favorite books – I re-read it all the time. What a heartbreaking loss for the world.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so glad to hear that. can’t wait to read it xoxo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      another great moment in her book:

      Under “B”
      BROTHER — My brother, who grew up with three sisters, was I won’t say how many years old when he finally realized that he did not have to wrap the towel around his chest when he came out of the shower.

    • Rachel says...

      I love the Brother excerpt – thanks for sharing! My brother (the youngest) has my sister and me. This totally made my heart swell. I need to read the whole memoir!

  20. Kate says...

    I just read ‘You may want to marry my husband’ and am now crying at my desk. Jason sounds like a dream but Amy’s selflessness in the face of death – her want for his happiness in love and life without her – shows just how lucky he was to find her.

  21. Cynthia says...

    Funny, how I ask my husband what he had for lunch, because then I will tell him how much I enjoyed mine, which is usually yummy leftovers. And if I have a dinner meeting with organizations I belong to, he asks how was the meeting and what did I eat. I think love is putting up with each other’s peculiarities.

  22. miri says...

    Oh, this is just beautiful and moving description of love. I will look for her book. I am very touched. Thank you for sharing, Jo!

  23. Kristy says...

    If that’s what love means then I sure love a lot of people.

  24. Joanie says...

    She is/was and emphasis on “is” one of our prophets. She passed a year to the day of another writer friend of the same insidious disease. I so hope, what ever energy form that dying takes, that Mary Ellen was there to give comfort to Amy. My friend Mary Ellen had not the expanse of written work, but had brilliance and wisdom. Her message was Gratitude in every moment and every day. Amy echoed that in so many different facets ~intuitively. Be Grateful and born out of that one gift may we be compassionate.

  25. Sandra says...

    I can’t believe I hadn’t read any of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s work before the Modern Love column ran. I have a young child and haven’t even read any of her kids’ books. I was so moved by her love letter to her husband, and so sad to hear of her passing. I’m definitely going to read more of her work.

    This piece from a friend of hers was such a nice insight into her as a person:

    I especially love the part about how she celebrated her 50th birthday. I’ve always wished I had the personality to pull that sort of thing off. It sounds like she was loved and will be missed by many.

  26. Caitlin says...

    “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life” is a book I go back to again and again to be reminded that it’s the little things that make up our lives. What a joy to stop and actually appreciate them. The book inspired my husband and I so much we started our own Encyclopedia of our lives together and I love to see what he wrote especially in those early days. Amy will be dearly missed

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, well said xoxo

  27. My husband is in Cincinnati right now and when I talked to him tonight I made sure to ask what he ate for dinner. <3

  28. Keli says...

    Oh I really hope the links to her books are just affiliate links and not sponsored. She was such a beautiful writer!

  29. Emily says...

    As a millennial (a term I can’t said) at the ripe old age of 25, I can’t think that this post hits home for me. I read Amy’s piece in modern love on Thursday when it first came out and I had no idea what I was getting in for. She left such an effect on me. And now reading the excerpts from “An Enclypodeia…” I think as young people we often miss the little things. (Can’t wait to read her book now). I’m trying more and more to appreciate the little things as I know one day they will be the big things.

    My boyfriend and I are long distance and I get the eye rolls when I ask him what he had for dinner or how he slept etc. But it’s those little things give me comfort when I’m not there. As does making him a month’s worth of meals for his freezer so when he gets home from his job in the ER (new doctor!) he has a homecooked meal.

    I can’t wait for her essay to become a Modern Love podcast.

    Thank you. It’s unfortunate that we learn so much from really special people post-humorously. Amy’s lessons remind me of Paul’s teachings about life in his book.

  30. Caitlin Ashley says...

    What a lovable writer and person Amy was. That Modern Love essay… When I got to the paragraph about her choosing the “more” tattoo, I surprised myself by crying suddenly! Imagining the pain associated with such loss makes you want to be kinder.

  31. I am four months married and her Modern Love column absolutely gutted me. I look around at the ordinary business of sharing a life — putting toothpaste on the other’s brush, coffee poured before the other wakes up — and I physically ache at the sweetness and simplicity of it. No matter how much time I am granted, it won’t be enough. Amy’s (and Nora’s!) words really echo within me.

  32. Christine says...

    I’m glad I’m not strange for always asking my husband what he ate (if not leftovers) and if it was any good.

    Love Amy krouse Rosenthal’s children’s books ( I’m a former preschool teacher and now mom of a preschooler and infant.) Gonna have to read the memoir.

  33. Tiffany says...

    This is love, warmed me right up.

  34. Oh boy, deep breath. My mom lost her husband, my dad, 20 years ago last month. It is still so painful for both of us but especially her, reading Amy’s NYT essay is so hard. Though written from the other side of the pain, it hurts to hear her speak so longingly of what she knows she is leaving. There is something about a true, true love story where two people are just so entwined they are extensions of each other yet have the ability after 25 years of marriage to look at their partner and still admire and appreciate every little nuance about them. It is a beautiful thing to watch and heart wrenching thing to watch get taken away. RIP Amy and thank you for your words, they are so real.

  35. Oh, gosh, I read her modern love essay yesterday and cried and now I’m tearing up again…

  36. Unbelievably touching.

  37. Alex Chua says...

    Oh my goodness, that essay in the NYT. How heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

  38. Justine says...

    Aw man. That was so moving. Thanks for sharing. A gentle reminder to be grateful and present.

  39. Debby says...

    So heartbreaking to hear that she passed. Her voice is beautiful. Thank you for posting.

    Also, you linked the book to (thank you for posting- I’m buying it) and so I want to share that donates money to your charity of choice with every purchase. Would be great to funnel more traffic through that part of the site.

    • Kristen says...

      thanks for mentioning amazon smile! i never even knew this existed, but will certainly use it all the time now :)

  40. Kristen says...

    This post reminds me of the beautiful poem titled What the Living Do by Marie Howe. I heard it a few years ago on Fresh Air during poetry week, and haven’t been able to get it out of my head since.

    What the Living Do
    Marie Howe

    Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
    And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up
    waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
    It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through
    the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
    For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,
    I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
    wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,
    I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
    Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.
    What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
    whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss—we want more and more and then more of it.
    But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
    say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep
    for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
    I am living. I remember you.

    • Cassy says...

      Love this!

    • Lake says...

      I love this! Thanks.

    • mae says...

      Wow. Thank you for sharing this!

  41. sooz says...

    My heart has cracked. Thank you for sharing such poignant and timely and true excerpts of Amy’s words, and for reminding us of the importance of the present moment.

  42. Lubna says...

    Such beautiful thoughts ! I can relate to the second one quite well. She is such a beautiful soul x

  43. I love this so very much. My husband and I often tease each other about lunch if we ever eat at a spot we both like without the other – we’re cheating by eating the good sandwich at Yum Cafe alone. It’s these small inside cute little jokes that keep our marriage fun and fresh everyday, even with 2 littles, 2 teens and a crazy life. Thank you for sharing this, what a wonderful reminder.


    • LBK says...

      My boyfriend grew up right near Yum Cafe and he was so excited to take me there when I visited. He always suggests going there when we go back for a visit!

  44. The second also reminds me of It’s a Wonderful Life when George runs home and screams, “Look at this old, wonderful, drafty house,” and runs up the stairs to have the finial pop off of the banister.
    (About 2.5 minutes in)

    • Sabrina says...

      And he kisses the finial too! Love that scene!

    • Emily says...

      That scene is THE BEST!

  45. Samantha says...

    I always ask my friends/family what they are eating.
    Maybe that is why I decided to study nutrition :)

  46. Emma says...

    I always want my husband to give me a full narrative of his day. It drives him a little nuts (especially when I ask for the minutiae of important conversations…like, “and then what did she say? And what did YOU say?”), so this made me smile. I was completely gutted by her modern love essay – so beautiful, and so sad.

  47. What a heartbreaking loss. Little Hoot, about an owl who’s supposed to stay up late but wants to be allowed to go to bed early, was one of my daughter’s first books. I wasn’t familiar with her memoir, but I can tell from these excerpts that I will enjoy it. RIP Amy. I hope your family finds solace in the many condolences from fans from around the world.

  48. Kate says...

    I bought Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life when I was 22 and trying to make big life decisions about the next step in my life after college. I treasured that book, and it gave me a blueprint of the kind of life I wanted: small, sweet, funny, and filled with love for family and friends. I had the great privilege of meeting and getting to spend some time with Amy Krouse Rosenthal about 7 years ago, and it was such a highlight of my life. She is just as caring, smart, warm, and funny as she came off in her work. I’m so heartbroken for her family, and I’m so sad that we won’t get to see what more she could have created. Thank you for profiling her, Joanna! And thank you also for highlighting her other work. She was prolific!

  49. for years, my husband and i have read “modern love” out loud to each other. this one was too much to read out loud, we each read it to ourselves (and cried). a day later he texted me “did you know that’s the ‘duck! rabbit!’ author?” (one of our son’s favorite books). such a beautiful voice, and how lucky we all were to have enjoyed her talent. if you want to cry more, read her husband’s statement to people mag: “It is Amy’s gift with words that has drawn the universe in. Unfortunately, I do not have the same aptitude for the written word, but if I did I can assure you that my tale would be about the most epic love story — ours.”

  50. Thank you for these snippets…my husband sent me her beautiful essay and now I want to read more of her writing.
    Like many commenters, I always want to know what my husband ate! And used to ask my parents when they got back from a date too. Since my dad is a pilot overseas, my mom still always brings me the fancy menu from her flight home for me to read. I also always say ‘sleep well,’ when wishing anyone good night, which my husband laughs at. Followed by ‘how did you sleep?’ in the morning. It’s habit but I really do want to know.

  51. wendy says...

    thank you for posting this:T *inspiring & encouraging *

  52. Thank you for posting this. It reminded me again why I want to buy Amy’s book, so I finally just did. She has a way of capturing life and love and beauty in a way that’s sad, but also so incredibly realistic and so easy to relate to. I’ve only been married for two years, but no matter what, whenever I’m out with girlfriends or have an evening obligation, I always ask my husband what he had for dinner.

  53. My heart breaks with this news. If I can share, this past weekend in a moment of frustration for lacking a good new book to read, I went back to my book shelves and Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life caught my eye right away. And I thought, “Oh my god, yes. THIS book.” I had wondered why, out of nowhere and years after I last opened it, it popped out like that. Now with this news of her passing, I know why. These resonant and serendipitous happenings are what she so often spoke of. Thinking of this tiny connection fills me with such an affirmation for life and its many many gifts offered to us if we just pay attention. As I type this, I can see the book on my coffee table, readying itself for another round of all the chuckles and tears flowing with each perfectly composed entry read. Thank you for sharing this, Joanna. She really was something special in this nutty world.

  54. Sarah Beth says...

    I totally agree about the lunch question. My husband thinks it’s so dumb, but I always ask him what he did for lunch. Did he remember his leftovers? Did he go out with friends? Did he have to work through lunch? Did he get to go to the great hot dog stand on the beach? It tells me basically everything about his day. I remember during my first week of college, I was talking to one of my best friends from home about how our weeks were going, and she was totally cool about her school until I off-handedly asked her how her lunch was that day, and she burst into tears bc she hadn’t made the kind of friends that you eat lunch with yet, and had sat in the cafeteria alone. My husband may not believe it’s a good question, but ever since that day, I maintain it’s the best way to take the pulse of people you love.

  55. My 3 year old daughter ends a lot of her statements with, “you know?” in a very exaggerated tone. No idea where she got this from, but Amy’s neighbor’s trait just made me laugh out loud. What a creative and reflective woman she must have been!

  56. Regarding R, upon leaving our home for sleepovers at friends’ houses, my youngest daughter (eleven years old), always leaves us with a list of what not to eat and do while she’s away. And that list almost always includes: do not have tacos or steak without me, do not go to Starbucks and do not watch Blackish or Modern Family on DVR until I’m back. We call her ‘Boss Bailey’ for this reason, but should her demands lessen I would admittedly be bereft. I love this post and I loved her article; may she rest in peace.

  57. t says...

    Life. Even though it hurts it is so worth it.

  58. MA says...

    Her Modern Love essay is such a beautiful love letter to her husband. I love her writing and had no idea she was sick until I read that essay. It was heartbreaking in so many ways. Thanks for sharing these excerpts – I am adding this book to my list.

  59. Lauren E. says...

    Oh my, that L got me. My husband and I also do the, “How’d you sleep?” and genuinely wait for the answer. It’s the little things.

    • Brianna says...

      That is so sweet. My dad always asks me how I slept, too, and sometimes it drives me nuts because usually the answer is lousy (thanks, migraines, you’re a peach), but really, it’s nice that he cares.

  60. Oh geez those two little excerpts made me tear up at work haha!

    Thank you for this, a lovely reminder to be grateful for the present.

  61. sometimes i’ll pester my husband for glimpses into his childhood – what did you have for dinner when you were 7 and had a bad day at school? what would you listen to while you were making dinner with your dad? how often did you go out to dinner, and what would you order? was the bread toasted too? if you don’t eat mayo, how do you have tuna fish sandwiches??

    since i make his lunch monday – thursday, i already know what he had midday, but on fridays. it’s game on, i’m all about what he consumed.

    • Jeannie says...

      Incredibly sweet!! I’d love to ask my partner these things, too <3 :) thanks for sharing

    • YES, I totally want to know all of this info from my husband! Especially because his childhood was so different than mine (“You had soda? That you could just, like, drink at any time??”)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      those are such cute questions. i love talking about when people went out to dinner as kids. as a kid, eating out usually feels fancy/special, so people seem to remember all the details. we’d go to a restaurant called Uptown Charlie’s and you could play Pac Man while you waited for your table!

  62. Sbe says...

    Wow. I will miss her. So young.

  63. This book sounds so lovely – definitely adding it to my list. The “Returning to Life After Death” reminds me of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Also a big fan of Nora Ephron so heading to read those lists. ;)

    • Andrea says...

      I cackled when I read this. We have been married for 11 years and I can say the same thing! It’s like endlessly updating well-worn roads…

  64. Oh wow… the returning to life one really hit hard. I definitely need to get this book now. Thanks for sharing this!

  65. Lauren says...

    I read her Modern Love column and then her obituary yesterday and it just broke my heart. She had such a way with words. Thank you so much for sharing these excerpts, they are so lovely.
    (Just a side note, she actually passed away on Monday, not yesterday.)

  66. I nodded my head to the L one because I always ask my fiance what he had for lunch! He doesn’t know why I care, but I just have to know! Maybe because it’s something concrete whereas asking how is day was doesn’t give me any actual details about what he did. I picked up this habit when I was young. When my parents would go on dates, I always asked my mom to come in and say good night to me when they got home and I’d always ask what they eat had for dinner.

  67. These are lovely! I was so sad to hear about Amy, I have read several of her essays and her children’s books and she just had a way with words that was so moving.

  68. M says...

    Regarding “R” – my husband says this to me if I get annoyed with something he is doing (or more commonly, something his mother has done!). It is a good reminder to appreciate what makes us unique. And he is right, I WILL miss finding a random man sock stuck in the bed sheets if I am ever on this earth with out him.

  69. liz says...

    When we were very young, my brother was 3 and I was 6, he asked me how to tell if someone loved you. I replied “if they call you honey”. I often wish I still had that 100% certainty.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so, so, so sweet, liz.

  70. Louisa says...

    “RETURNING TO LIFE AFTER BEING DEAD” is exactly like what I think about parenting a toddler (except it’s “RETURNING TO LIFE AFTER SHE GROWS UP”). The other night she woke me up at 2 a.m. to put her socks on and at 3 a.m. to take them off. “I will miss this” is my mantra for these moments.

    It’s almost too bittersweet.

    • Agree, completely. I share the same sentiments about my kiddos and the passage of time.

  71. Deb D. says...

    love this post <3
    the loveliest thoughts to always, always remember: all that small stuff you're not sweating, appreciate it

  72. Oh my gosh, L is so true! Every day I ask my husband what he had for lunch and when he’s out of town I always have to ask him what he ate. There is absolutely no reason for this, I just need to know. It reminds me of how in some parts of China, people greet each other with “Have you eaten?”. Food is love.

    • Yes! Totally, RE: “Have you eaten?” That excerpt made me realize I most regularly ask my husband and my bestest friend what they’ve eaten when I’m not around. Food is indeed love ^_^ When people tell me bad news, my immediate reaction is to cook for them.

  73. Wow. I loved her Modern Love column and that except from her memoir is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it,.

  74. L says...

    What I will and won’t miss are reversed in your post. I love this post and both of those authors :'(

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, fixed! and yes, i agree. such incredible women.