Relationships

12 Reader Comments on Love

dancing

With this difficult year coming to a close, we’ve been thinking of all the ways we’ve experienced love and the ways it has sustained us. So, here are 12 reader comments on love…

On quiet gestures:

“In our blissful early weeks, my boyfriend slept over. Before dawn, the trash truck rolled up under the window, blaring and clanging. He laid his hands gently over my ears so the noise wouldn’t wake me. It did! But I pretended to be asleep and gave him my whole heart at that moment.” – S.

“As a teenager, I was most definitely NOT a morning person, so my mom used to wake me up every day with a hot chocolate. I would drink it and then drag myself out of bed. She still does this when I go visit and I’m 33 (actually now its a mocha!). Moms are the best.” – K.

On sibling bonds:

“My brother is eight years older than I am, and when he was a teenager, he didn’t really play with me. But when he went out with his friends, he would always bring me back a treat – a chocolate bar, a can of Mountain Dew, Skittles, etc. We’re proper friends now that we’re older but it’s those tiny treats that made me a treater, too!” – AI

“My sister and I are very different – she’s a gregarious New Yorker, never seen without full makeup, and a writer of novel-length erotic Hannibal fan fiction. While I’m so different from her (think if your dad’s trusty L.L. Bean vest from 1993 were a human woman), her light makes me – and everyone – brighter. Kind, sparkling, inclusive oddballs make the entire world better! – Jenny

On strangers connecting:

“I’ve been allowing myself some spare minutes to watch YouTube videos of what I like to call ‘people doing human things’ — strangers standing close together listening to a street musician, etc. It helps me focus on the good. For your enjoyment, Sweet Caroline in a Boston subway.” — Monica

“Last summer, I was sitting on a bench outside of a Target totally sobbing. My godmother had just gone into hospice and I knew that we didn’t have long. A woman got out of her parked car with a tissue and asked if I needed anything. I just shook my head as the tears poured out. She told me she was going to go back to her car and wait until I left, in case I changed my mind. I cried for another 15 minutes and she stayed right there until I left and then drove away.” — Deanne

“Last year we were visiting D.C., when a stranger came up to my six-year-old son, put his hands on his shoulders and said, ‘I just want you to know that I think you look really cool and I like the way you look!’ Mama bear immediately roared to attention, when my husband whispered in my ear that my son had been in the bathroom saying ‘Dad, I really don’t like the way I look. Why do I look so weird?’ Stranger swept in to boost some spirits and it was such a sweet moment.” — C.

“When I was going through a divorce, I had a weekly therapy appointment on Monday afternoons. Afterward I couldn’t go home, because my soon-to-be ex-husband would be there with our kids. So, I started going to a local ramen restaurant. One day, the sweet woman at the counter said, ‘We always see you on Mondays. What’s the rest of your Monday routine?’ I answered honestly that I was coming from therapy and appreciated how comforting the soup was. Every Monday after that, the employees would bring me an extra treat with my ramen – a cup of green tea, a steamed bun, a perfectly ripe sliced tomato, something special. They never mentioned why and we never talked about my Monday routine again, but it always made me feel loved, tingly and warm in a very cold, hard time.” — Heather

On loving your body:

“My four-year-old is always smooshing into my body and saying things like ‘I like how soft you are, Mama’ and ‘your boobs are like pillows’ and ‘you jiggle when we dance’ (meant as a compliment)! My instinct is to recoil from the statements but I try to remember that my body holds 57 pounds of kids in its arms every day and it works with cancer patients and it writes letters to friends. It’s easier to love my body when I think about the safety and love and fun my daughters feel when they are wrapped in it.” — Savannah

On love at the end:

“Ashley’s last paragraph — about how ‘real love makes room for you to love yourself the way you are and the way you want to be’ — is so beautiful and true. I experienced that when my mother was dying. I could see her in all her vulnerability and it was okay for her and for me. It made me understand that at the end, there is only love.” — Agnès

On just the right words:

“My five-year-old son has autism. It’s been a big struggle to get him to understand the back and forth of conversations. I was tucking him into bed one night, and I said ‘I love you, buddy,’ like I do every night. He turned to me, brought his hand delicately up to his chest, looked me in the eye, and said, ‘THANK you!’ in this genuinely shocked and delighted tone of voice. It was the best and truest response I could’ve hoped for. That’s still how he answers and it’s fantastic.” – Olivia

“While dancing at a wedding together to a fun, fast song, I whispered ‘Does my breath smell’ to my husband and he answered enthusiastically, ‘Yes!’ I was mortified and asked him ‘What!?’ He confusedly replied, ‘Didn’t you ask if we are best friends?’ We still laugh about that conversation and the memory is just the sweetest. He’s definitely my best, best friend.” – Jackie

What about you? What expressions of love have you experienced lately?

P.S. More great reader comments, including reader comments on kindness.

(Photo by David Gonzalez, 1979.)

  1. LP says...

    Echoing every other lovely commenter here just to say this brightened my day and put tears in my eyes. Reading about love, kindness and humanity reinvigorates me in a way that is beyond human. I always find myself searching my brain for similar stories to share when I read these and I get so upset when I can’t think of any – most definitely I can’t remember because I have had serendipitous, magical kind moments with strangers and friends alike. This is more incentive to write them down so I don’t forget them for myself (or to share) in the future.

  2. Claire says...

    My daughter is 2 1/2. Each night after reading books together, she hugs and kisses me, her dad, and her little brother. Then she hugs and kisses herself (she does this is a quick “I don’t want anyone to see” way rather than a “look how cute I am” way which is all the cuter. After her and I sing a sing together, she lists everyone that she loves and always ends with “and I love myself.” I always make sure to tell her that that is the most important person to love.

  3. If all the other blogs would disappear, I would be ok if I still had this one! Just the best space to come to online! <3

  4. Johanna says...

    This post is incredibly painful for me. I just want my person so badly. So when I read about others who evidently found theirs I hurt wondering what is wrong with me.

    • A says...

      ❤️ There is surely nothing wrong with you. Remember it’s never about one person but how two people click, so it can’t be that there is just something wrong with you. I’m sorry you are in pain. I hope you have someone you can reach out to and talk to. It will be worth waiting for Mr/Mrs right rather than settling for Mr/Mrs right now. But remember also that love is expressed in many different relationships, not just romantic. Sending you love ❤️

    • Hayley says...

      Hi Johanna,

      Your comment really touched me today. I spent many years feeling similar sentiments to the ones you described in your comment. For example, birthdays, holidays, promotions and graduations were all sources of pain for me because I would see how other people were celebrated at these types of events and it hurt to feel like I’d never get that joy. Even now I’ve found my person, I still get uneasy for no reason wondering if it’ll all go away some day.

      I want you to know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you and you are so deeply deserving of love – the fact that you don’t have you person yet does not many you any less worthy than the people who’ve found theirs. I’m holding a lot of love and light for you right now and am hoping your person is on their way into your life very soon xx

  5. Elle says...

    I’m currently sitting outside the ER in my car, 8 months pregnant, waiting for my husband who is being seen inside. I’m not permitted in the room with him due to covid restrictions, and of course his phone died shortly after he went in. So I’ve just been out here trying not to panic, and wondering how to pass the time without spiraling. My first instinct was to call a friend to come sit with me, but then I remembered our city’s recent state of emergency which prohibits this. Reading all of these comments feels extra emotional, but also like the very best medicine I could ask for right now. Thank you, beautiful COJ community for sitting in my car with me. <3

    • Caitlin says...

      I so hope things turned out OK!! xoxo

    • Cathy says...

      Sending you love . Hoping everything turned out ok.

  6. Elle says...

    OK, I have to say something. Your posts are often so tender and kind they bring me to tears. I would honestly subscribe to keep access to this! And I’m someone who is quite careful about where I put my money. Thanks for creating such a lovely space.

  7. Emmi says...

    A couple weeks ago, I moved abroad for my work, to a country in conflict where my boyfriend cannot join me. We had been living together in a little rental house since March. Because of the pandemic, we had all the time in the world to make it ours. My particular project was the garden. We could invite friends here, and we even slept in it on warm days. It was fully tiled when we moved in, but flowering like a jungle when I left. Our shower is on the ground floor and every morning while my boyfriend showered with all doors open, I’d make a round through the garden, proudly informing him of all new blooms. Needless to say, it was not easy to leave all this behind.

    On a day when I felt particularly lonely after my move, my boyfriend messaged me that he had prepared a ‘surprise virtual tour’. He had photographed every new flower in the garden. I received over twenty photos of beautiful blooms. And each photo came accompanied by a little rhyme about the plant’s name or character, hinting at how much they all missed me <3

  8. Lais says...

    omg, wish we could all go away together for a long weekend or something. SO. MUCH. TO. TALK. ABOUT. Thank you, ladies, for being such great company. I fried my balls reading everything <3

  9. Elle says...

    That photograph is just magnificent

  10. Nicole U says...

    These are my favorite posts — I’ve been laughing and crying. I just got to “fried my balls out” and laughed harder than I have in months. That deserves to be in the top 10 comments of the year! Thanks to An.

  11. Sarah Crosby says...

    Unexpectedly weeping now, at the end of my WFH day. These were beautiful.

  12. t says...

    When I was a new mom of infant twins I was walking them home from the grocery store in their double stroller and they were both wailing (neither liked being in their stroller b/c it meant they weren’t being held). I was exhausted but had done this walk daily for a couple months bc even though they weren’t happy we were all getting much needed fresh air. I had learned to stay focused and just walk along even though we all know how heart breaking it is to let infants cry.

    A woman drove by me with her windows down, circled back and pulled up next to me and empathically said “YOU GOT THIS, MAMA!” and then drove off. I kept walking but now with tears streaming down my face.

    I felt seen and empowered; that simple and brief gesture meant the world to me.

  13. There are many versions of home, and for me, this blog is one of them. <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh tears! That means so much to me.

    • Rachel says...

      Agreed!!!

    • mdeck says...

      What a beautiful thought and comment, Emily <3

    • Sara says...

      whole heartedly agree!

    • Lais says...

      AGREED! beautifully put.

  14. Meredith says...

    Dear COJ, please give photo credit when posting photos of other people’s art/other people’s photos. This is a very famous photo by the photographer David Gonzalez (1979).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, the photo credit is at the bottom of the post, where we always put it. thank you so much!

  15. marjory says...

    the comment section on this blog never seizes to be heartwarming. Much needed in times like these.

  16. jenn says...

    When I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, i had told my neighbor. She was such a blessing, dropping smoothies at my door, inviting my kids to hang out with her kids. She even came over to perform Reiki on me. I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t understand what it was. Looking back, she literally laid hands on me to send me positive energy my way. When I think about all she did it brings me to tears and I will never forget it.

  17. Christina says...

    This happened just last night, after reading this post, but not commenting –

    My husband had the very last bit of halloween candy in his hand (we’ve been trying to keep it away from the kids) Most of it wasn’t the good stuff, but there was one Hershey’s that I asked if we could split. One of the kids interrupted us and I quickly forgot. Later that night, there was half chocolate, laid out so nicely, on a tissue for me to enjoy after the kids went to sleep. He easily could have eaten the whole thing, I probably would have, but him leaving it for me reminded me of one of the reasons I love him.

  18. patricia blaettler says...

    My daughter was a young teen when she dislocated her kneecap at the gym. I stopped to get gas on the way home and the gas station attendant saw her crying. He stopped at her window and asked if she was ok. She told him what happened and he looked deep into her eyes and told her that she would be ok. He spoke kindly to her for a few minutes and it was almost magical. It felt like pure humanity and love.

  19. S says...

    Bookmarking this and revisiting when news and the world seems to be all room and gloom…the comments in the post and those in replies illustrate how much seeing someone and showing up matters, even in the smallest gestures. Thank you for this little heartful uplift!!

  20. Jessica says...

    As if 2020 wasn’t enough, I developed a rare disease that carries a high risk of colorectal cancer. Today was my colonoscopy and screening to see if I had developed cancer. It was a physically and mentally tough day. Without saying a word, my husband prepared our bathroom (colonoscopy prep requires a lot of time in the bathroom…) by cleaning everything, laying out fun magazines, and putting a vase of fresh flowers out. Several friends dropped off dinner and toys for my family to keep them fed/entertained while I was down.

    This disease has been devastating to my body, but not even CLOSE to as heartwarming the support has been to my heart. I am floored by how people continue to show up for each other, time and time again.

    P.S. I was cancer free. :)

    • Amy says...

      Yay Jessica! Glad you have happy news and that you have loving, supportive people in your life to root you on

    • Eli says...

      What a wonderfully kind husband. I am so glad to read that the results were cancer free!! What a relief that must be for you in such a very emotional time. I hope that you are managing your disease as best you can and that you continue to receive loving and genuine support from your family and friends! Remember – a disease does not define you, don’t let it overtake your thoughts and feelings and life. Many prayers for you!

    • Courtney says...

      Woot! Congrats on the good news :)

    • Krystal says...

      As someone awaiting the prognosis for my dad’s pancreatic cancer, I’m so happy to hear you’re cancer-free. Good luck, good luck, and thank you for sharing.

    • Jessica says...

      So happy to hear, Jessica!

    • mdeck says...

      I felt my chest tighten as I started reading your post, and then felt it release when I got to the ps – so pleased to hear it, Jessica!

  21. JR says...

    I’ve been feeling very down the last few months after a miscarriage. My husband had plans to be away this weekend when I was expecting my period, and I was feeling anxious to be alone when that happened (it’s usually a day of tears and despair). On the morning before he left, he popped out for a ‘secret’ errand and came home with armfuls of chocolate, kombucha, epsom salts, a face mask, prosciutto, teas, cheese, and wine. I felt SO seen and loved. It was exactly what I needed to make it through a tough couple days.

    • Cynthia says...

      Big hug to you. Lovely of your husband to pamper you like this.

  22. C says...

    “Ashley’s last paragraph — about how ‘real love makes room for you to love yourself the way you are and the way you want to be’ — is so beautiful and true. I experienced that when my mother was dying. I could see her in all her vulnerability and it was okay for her and for me. It made me understand that at the end, there is only love.” — Agnès

    I love this. My mother died very recently. Caring for her at the end was truly beautiful. When I helped to dress her and later in her final hours, when my brothers, father and I cared for her so gently, in ways we never knew we could or would, it was like helping someone give birth. We surrounded her with love as she has always done for us. We were there for her final poetic, relieving breath. We thanked her, reassured her. She opened her eyes one fine time and looked with deep love in my fathers eyes. It was magical.

    • Zara says...

      Oh, man, C. This made me tear up. My dad died last year, and his partner and my brother were there for his last breath. What a powerful, beautiful, heartbreaking moment. Sending you hugs.

    • Annie says...

      I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • Sarz says...

      C, thank you for sharing! Perhaps it’s how I was raised, but I’ll never understand why the end-of-life process is so taboo among so many folks. You and your family helping your mother transition is a beautiful story, and we should all be so lucky some day. She must have been wonderful, to inspire such devoted care. <3

    • Lisa says...

      C, that is so beautiful. It reminds me of when my dad died. He had been very sick and we knew it was close so my oldest brother came in from out of town. We were all in my dad’s room watching golf (his favorite) and my brother wrapped his arm around my dad. He took one last big breath and then that was all. We find this very poignant and circlar- my father, a physician, helped deliver my brother and was the first person to hold him as he entered this world. And my brother was the last to hold my dad as he left it.

    • Annie says...

      C, I’m so sorry for your loss, but I am so glad you had those moments.

      My grandparents were really my “functional parents” and gave me the love and emotional stability that I needed. When my grandmother was dying, and we had hospice for her at her home, my grandfather, who was hard of hearing, was struggling to communicate with her because she didn’t have the strength to speak loud enough for him to hear her, so whenever he wanted to talk with her, he’d call for me and I’d be the translator between them and all their last words together. It was such a private moment and to be invited and trusted to share it was the most incredible feeling, and to witness what that kind of love looks like was such a gift.

  23. Katie says...

    This was a beautiful post. It gave my heart a squeeze and left such a lingering tingly feeling in its wake that I felt compelled to come back to tell you. <3

  24. Namie says...

    My brother is 11 years younger than I am. Our mum died when he was 2 and I was 13. Between boarding school, college, and grad school, life was happening, but no matter where I was or what I was doing, we always spent his birthday together. He is married and has a beautiful daughter and for his 36th birthday, we were unable to see each other due to Covid-19. I felt horrible. Then he sent the heartful text: Because of how much you have shown me how to love others, I am a better husband, father, and friend. You once told me, I was the best gift mum gave you. You too are the best gift mommy left me.

    • Suzanne Quinn says...

      This is the sweetest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Thank you for sharing it with us, and I hope you can be together for the next birthday.

    • K says...

      Reading all these comments had me holding tears, but your story made me cry. How beautiful to be such a gift to each other.

    • Brittany says...

      Tears in my eyes! This is beautiful.

    • Sarz says...

      Ohh, what a special bond! :) My fingers are crossed that the 37th will be spent across the table from each other.

    • Lex says...

      This definitely made me tear up. What a sweet bond that you two share!

    • Michelle says...

      This is breathtaking. What a beautiful relationship you have.

    • Krystal says...

      This is probably too forward, but I have to ask. My 12 year old cousin (who, with our age difference, feels more like a niece) just lost her mother last Monday. Is there any advice you might offer for comforting someone so young going through such a loss? I can’t be with her in person due to Covid, and know she doesn’t have many comforting or safe adults in her life. I’m so sorry you know what this is like, and completely understand if you don’t want to/ can’t reply.

    • Cynthia says...

      Krystal,
      Make a commitment to her that you know you can keep- and keep it. This will help her see some stability in her life at a time when it must feel unstable. Maybe it’s a one a week phone call or a once a month letter. A 12-y-o girl needs a safe woman who talk to about everything that is going on with her.
      And I love the idea of making sure she is celebrated on special days- not just birthdays!

  25. Christina says...

    Work has been extremely busy and stressful these past few weeks with lots of looming deadlines and system issues. Yesterday felt particularly overwhelming and my husband noticed how panicky and stressed I looked. He immediately asked, “Can I do anything to help? Do you need the office to focus on your work? (as opposed to the kitchen table, we switch off most days in this WFH time) Would you like me to make anything in particular for dinner? Or I can just order something.” And after dinner, “Don’t worry about the dishes or putting the kid to bed. I got it, you just rest.”

    I couldn’t ask for a better partner who tries to take care of me. He tries hard to be an equal partner at home and I appreciate it every day.

    • Claire says...

      I hope to have a partner just like this one day. Thank you for reminding me that real love exists. (It’s been a hard year post-breakup for me and this was so helpful.)

  26. L says...

    This is so beautiful! To be so known and loved by the best people that they see something that others think is small. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Anna says...

    My boyfriend taught me this new-to-me French expression: “cocooning” — basically curling up at home, all cosy, like a cocoon. We have been doing it ever since, during the pandemic.

  28. Cathy says...

    My son is struggling with alcoholism and last night I reached out to a stranger who I had been told might be able to help. She didn’t just address his issues. She told me what I am experienced must be so hard and did I have help? She sent me a zoom invite for an alanon group her husband attends. She is an alcoholic herself. She told me she would hold me in her heart and to please check back in. Where do the depths of this kind of love and caring come from? I am crying and hopeful and feel seen for the first time in a very long time.

    • Cathy says...

      The reason I feel seen is that unlike cancer or heart disease, addiction does not have a special coloured ribbon or people who surround you with the love and support you so desperately need, it’s quiet and for the most part it’s hidden. A woman last week asked me why we spend so much time thinking about people with addiction. How do we move from the model that this is a moral failure to one where we see the humanity and pain at play.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so beautiful, Cathy. and I’m so sorry to hear about what you and your son are going through. that sounds really hard. <3

    • C says...

      Thoughts to you, Cathy. I so agree with your observation of the way we treat alcoholism as a moral issue rather than a disease. I am the child of two people who struggle with alcohol use and it’s hard. It’s harder when I feel the weight of the stigma. Best wishes to you and your son, you sound like a really good mom.

    • Sage says...

      Wishing you and your son strength. I’ve been sober for 3 and a half years but there was a lot of heartache before that. It sounds like you’re there for your child when he needs you most. All the love.

    • Sarz says...

      Cathy! As someone with an addict in their immediate family, your words made me tear up. Before the pandemic hit, I was seriously considering joining an in-person support group for families of those with these sorts of struggles. Hearing about your lovely new friend reminds me how great it could be to finally seek out some like-minded individuals. Thank you. I wish your son a tremendous recovery.

    • KD says...

      Cathy – The first time I went to a Nar Anon family group meeting I felt like I could breathe for the first time in a long time. My mom struggles with addiction and it can be so isolating. Often quiet and hidden as you mention. I took a break from the support group for a few years while I was busy with grad school, but earlier tonight I looked up virtual options. This feels like a gentle nudge from the universe. Sending love and strength to you and yours. A favorite quote of mine that you might appreciate… “Just because you carry it well, doesn’t mean it’s not heavy”

      I wish you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Xx

    • Cathy says...

      Thanks KD. My experience at the Al-Anon meeting today (via zoom) was exactly as you describe. Like I took a deep breath for the first time in ages. I’m sorry for all that you have been through. I wish that your mom could have been there for you in all the ways you needed her to be. This mom sends you big hugs and says “way to go sweetheart. You have found your way”

    • Samantha W Zutler says...

      Hi Cathy,
      Your story hit home for me and I wanted to respond. I once had a boyfriend who, about two months into our whirlwind of dating, I discovered was a drug addict, and had been for probably 30 years. (One of the reasons I didn’t recognize his addiction earlier is that I am incredibly inexperienced with drugs.) We stayed friends after I found out. He taught me so much about love! He was an incredibly vivacious person, who loved with his whole heart. He would hang up calls with his sister with: “I love you SO much!” – with tears in his eyes. It’s like he knew he would be leaving us soon, and he only had so much time to convince us that we were loved. He died of an overdose two years later. For the last year or so, he would disappear for days at a time, on a bender. During that time, I learned about loving someone who cannot always love you back. It was a powerful lesson, and he remains one of the most important people in my life. I agree with you about judgment of those struggling with addiction. Beyond that, though, I think addicts often have something to teach us. Much love to you. Sam

  29. Silver says...

    These were all so much fun to read, but the lady who waited in her car in case Deanne needed to talk was so beautiful that my eyes are crying. Some people are amazing – and all it takes to be amazing is kindness.

  30. Jane says...

    There was a post last week (I think?) about unconventional turn-ons, and as I was reading through the comments, I was thinking to myself “yes! ohhh that too! oh man yah”, and when I stopped to think about it, I realized that my attraction to my boyfriend of 5ish months has been the most intense and pure attraction. We are both divorced parents of two kids each, a bit of an unconventional love story, but when I think of him I am immediately at ease, I am beaming, I am woefully over-the-top in love with all the small details, the more mundane moments, the gestures of absolute affection that to him were just a response to a situation, but to me is the whole kit and caboodle. After a failed marriage where I didn’t feel seen, or desired, or respected, to have someone that I can truly say I admire in absolutely every aspect, and who sends me the NYT mini crossword link every. single. morning. (despite me having the app) and has gracefully accepted defeat at it far more than semi-gracefully celebrating a win- man. I think I’m finally understanding what true romantic love looks like.

    • Katie says...

      I love this. Yay for you, Jane!

  31. Sarah K says...

    That last comment is just perfection! I absolutely love it and can totally imagine it happening! It immediately put a smile on my face when I read it and I even chuckled out loud a little bit! Thanks for sharing these, it’s always one of my favorite posts.

  32. Jordyn says...

    Several years ago, around midnight after hiking Machu Picchu I was in a cab with a friend, and a stranger was in the front seat who did not speak English or Spanish. The driver stopped at a gas station to grab a bottle of water. The driver struggled for several minutes to open the bottle while driving on the curvy roads. The guy in the front seat kept reaching for the bottle and the driver kept saying no (I think he thought he wanted a drink). Finally he let him have it and the guy opened the bottle, handed it back to him and held the cap to reseal it when he was done. They kept this up until the bottle was finished. Needless to say, after being in the jungle for 2 weeks with only one other person, this warmed my heart to the humanity of others. Thank you for this lovely post!

  33. Gita says...

    I believe there was a cartoon on CoJ about love languages or something to that effect and one of them was “bringing the cat”, which I hadn’t recognized as a love sign before. My partner knows our cat is my favorite, and he, unselfishly, brings her to me on various occasions, but especially when I’m down or upset. Or as a morning treat, since mornings are not my thing to say the least.
    This past Halloween, he brought home a box of individually wrapped seasonal chocolates. Each had a Halloween-themed object on it, one of which was a frog which I hadn’t noticed right away. I got a frog one a couple of days later and expressed utter disgust due to my reptile phobia. He was genuinely concerned and said he’d been hiding and eating all the frog ones first so I wouldn’t come across one… [sniffles…]
    P.S. If anyone could link said cartoon, I’d really appreciate it! I tried hard to find it, but it’s only based on a vague memory.

  34. Erin says...

    Echoing the gratitude shared by a few other commenters: thank you for a post about love that isn’t centered entirely around romantic love. This was the boost I needed today!

    • deanna says...

      YES! I think about this often. Love comes in so many forms! As does motherhood, relationships, beauty, fun. All of that. CoJ does such a great job of acknowledging all of those things regularly, which is why I love this little virtual community so much! :)

  35. Sydni Jackson says...

    Thank you for this today! I watched “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” a few days ago on a plane and have been weeping ever since. I also thought of Mr. Rogers as a soft, gentle children’s tv persona, but he just seems like the most loving person on the planet. I keep thinking of how he would end each show saying, “There’s only one person in this whole world like you, and people can like you just the way you are.” I love him!!

    • Sydni Jackson says...

      *Always, not also

  36. Robin says...

    Thank you for reminding me of all the forms of love. As a single 33 yr old woman, the isolation caused by this pandemic has made me obsess even more over finding romantic love to “complete” my life. It’s a micro-fixation amplified by alone time and dating apps. In these comments I can see that there is love in every corner of life – friends, family, work zoom meetings, seeing happy dogs on walks from my home office window.

    • deanna says...

      Just turned 39 over here, single. I feel you, I see you. You’re not alone! We’re all just doing the best we can and love, indeed, is allllll around if we just take a moment to look for it. 😊

  37. M says...

    A few weeks ago I was told a large tumour in my kidney was almost certainly cancer and went for surgery. In prep and recovery I haven’t been able to see friends and family due to COVID and border closures, but they’ve sent messages, books, magazines, soup, children’s art work, cozy clothes, friendship bracelets connecting us, food, and so many flowers. In a year that has been so lonely, I *physically* felt their care. Inexplicably, I felt held by love. It has transformed how I think about caring for people from afar. I now know that the act of sending comfort, kindness and hope is real – and deeply powerful.

    To anyone caring for others remotely right now – keep sending your love – it matters.

    Ps. Yesterday we were told that I’m cancer-free <3

    • Marylou says...

      Fantastic. :)

    • So glad to hear you’re cancer-free. Hugs from Canada!

    • GJ says...

      Congratulations on being cancer-free, M!!

    • Tamara says...

      Hurray, M! This is wonderful news! Truly, I feel genuine happiness and relief for you. Take care of yourself and know that you’re cared for. xo

    • ARC says...

      Ah, congratulations, that’s the best feeling. You did not need one more stressor in a stressful year. I hope you can take care of yourself. Virtual hugs from California.

    • Lakshmi says...

      LOVELY!

  38. Vanessa says...

    This is so sweet! I am alternately crying and laughing into my coffee reading these <3

    • Em says...

      SAME. Such a lovely morning

  39. Danielle says...

    These are my favorite kind of posts!

  40. Lauren E. says...

    I was having a very difficult summer living and working away from my hometown when I was about 22 and had suffered my first panic attack. It was overwhelming and terrifying and I felt so alone. The day after it happened I got a call from the main office where I worked that I had a delivery. My dad had sent a huge bouquet with a card that said “Just Because.” He had no idea about the panic attack. He must’ve just sensed something in the air. It was still the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.

  41. JBM says...

    I am 7 months pregnant with twins (my first pregnancy) and we live far away from any family. Throw the pandemic into the mix, and we have barely seen anyone since March. Periodically in the mail, I’ll receive the sweetest small gifts from my mom or MIL–epsom salt to soak my gigantic feet and hands, an eye mask to help fight off the insomnia, a bouquet of my favorite flowers (ranunculus) to remind me that I am doing an incredible job growing these little lives. In lieu of being able to be physically comforted by them, these small acts of kindness give me such a sense of being cared for.

    • silly lily says...

      Your “gigantic” feet and hands (smiling at that visual) will most likely return to normal size in a few months. If not, the heck with it — you will need hardy feet to propel you through your busy days, and big hands to hold both of your beautiful babies. Wishing you the best…..

  42. Shannon says...

    The DC comment made me miss home so much. It’s exactly how people are in a city of transplants, oddballs, free spirits, and political lifers. What a town!

  43. Whitney says...

    After a disheartening work call yesterday, my husband came in to sit and talk with me about it. After a few minutes he said, “hang on one sec,” walked into the kitchen, and came back with a glass of milk and warm chocolate chip cookies he had popped in the oven after overhearing my frustration from the other room.

    • Emily says...

      The sweetest!

  44. Emily says...

    When I lived in the city, Domino’s was my go-to on days that were really rough or exhausting. I remember one time I was having a really hard time and was crying when I answered the door and the delivery man (an old, Italian man) said “don’t worry, be happy!” in his accent and it made me burst into more, but happy tears! I usually don’t like when people try to tell someone to cheer up, but he was so sincere with wanting me to smile that it was the best medicine.

    I reaaaally miss being able to order delivery on those tough days!

  45. Julie says...

    I’ve teared up twice now reading about the 6 yr old little boy in DC and the kindness of a stranger. Once on my own and once reading it to my husband as we wait for our 6 month old son to wake up this morning.
    <3

    • Sage says...

      I hope your family has a lovely, snuggly, cozy day. :)

  46. Micah Lynne Lambert says...

    Thank you!

  47. Rachel says...

    A “kind, sparkling, inclusive oddball” is exactly what I want to be when I grow up! It is the person I was born to be, it is how I feel on the inside, and I’m working on showing that self to the world after coming to terms with how deeply she has gotten buried under years of early childhood repression, discipline, and religious conservatism. To find this phase before me today gives me hope and a renewed sense of permission and joy! Thank you, Jenny, for loving this in your sister and for telling us about it!

  48. Joanna says...

    I live in a suburb of Boston and took the T regularly before the pandemic hit. I really liked taking the train and haven’t been on one since March. Watching the video of people on the red line platform singing Sweet Caroline almost made me cry. I really did not expect to have such an emotional reaction. Thank you for that!

    • Anu says...

      Same. I passed through that station twice every week day, standing on that very platform. Who knew the grubby Park Street platforms could move me to tears? So symbolic of what we’ve lost – just strangers being together, spending time with other people.

  49. Megan Johnson says...

    Another one on strangers connecting: In my early 20s, while still living at home with my family, I found myself sobbing in my car in a Walmart parking lot. My boyfriend at the time was mad that I had to cancel plans so I could cook dinner for my siblings because my mom was having a bit of a meltdown (it happens to the best of us, right?). I ran to the store to pick up pasta and marinara sauce for a quick and easy meal, but I was so upset, I couldn’t go in right away and just needed a good cry. I parked far away so no one would see me, but, of course, a woman and her teen daughter started loading groceries in a nearby car. They drove off–but then they returned. The mom unwound her window, waved at me, and asked if I was ok. I was mortified but also really, really touched that a perfect stranger took the time to turn around for me.

  50. Annie says...

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the fine line between kindness and love. My grandfather – a lifelong Democrat, fighter against injustice, lover of baseball, investor in his community, great husband, and my father-figure since my own father (his son) left my mother – is nearing the end of his battle with cancer. I live in the Midwest and he lives on the East Coast and not being able to properly say goodbye during this time has been the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. Instead of keeping this to myself I’ve essentially told everyone – and the responses are what has kept me upright. My friends and my fiance have been incredible – but the kindness of my coworkers really took me by surprise. My coworkers shared their grief-coping mechanisms, were quick to tell me to take a day when he had to go back into the hospital, still ask me about him regularly, and more. I believe kindness is our most precious currency, even in these tough times.

    • “Kindness is our most precious currency” resonates with me like scripture this morning. Thank you for your wisdom and for sharing.

    • Sarz says...

      Annie, your grandfather sounds like an exceptional man. I hope his time is extended even longer than any best-case scenarios, and that you have more opportunities to connect with him, in whatever way that looks like in these times. <3

  51. Annie says...

    I laughed and I cried reading this while laying in bed next to my husband who is sleeping because he is so tired from a day of loving our girls (and me) so well during this lock down.

    Thank you, Cup of Jo. And reader commenters who should all be book authors. Jeez!

  52. Crying at my working-from-home desk after reading Olivia’s comment – my teenage son is autistic.

  53. anna says...

    Acts of kindness and love between strangers always get to me, but (at least in my area!) the pandemic’s made people so scared of each other they don’t even make eye contact. Can you guys cheer me up w some happy pandemic stories? I have one I’ll share!

    • Alex says...

      I have one, not about strangers, but it’s happy! I’m a small-town reporter and I recently wrote a story about a woman who got diagnosed with covid and breast cancer back to back this summer. She contacted the paper because she’s fully recovered from both now and wanted me to write a story about how much her friends helped her survive as a way of thanking them. They brought her meals every single day to her doorstep and helped her find supplies and sent her small paintings in the mail, all without stepping foot in her house. She just celebrated her 62 birthday and all of her friends were able to celebrate it with her (outside and masked of course) but she said without them she wouldn’t have survived. She’s now happy, healthy and cancer-free!

    • Melodie says...

      It’s so tiny but it touched me. Yesterday I was grocery shopping and while taking a corner I bumped into a display of brussel sprouts and sent the whole thing numbing onto the ground and sprouts rolling across the floor. Before I could react this young guy in a hoodie and a beanie runs over and starts wordlessly helping me pick up the brussel sprouts. I thanked him profusely and when we were finished he just nodded and walked away. It was so unexpected and casual and kind and reminded me that behind all the masks and distances there are often ordinary, decent people who just help because they can.

  54. Lindsay says...

    I just love all of these, thank you for sharing, dear CoJ community. I’m about to drift off to sleep and these are the sweetest. Sending love to each of you. 💖

  55. Joanna Tsay says...

    When it’s my turn to put my 5-yr-old son to bed, this is our routine now: freshly bathed, he bounds into my bedroom, strips down to his undies, wiggles into the covers and nestles up right next to me. He then sighs deeply and says, “This is soooo cozy.” I read a story or two and then he usually snuggles closer and says, “Cuddles.” This means bodies as close as we can get them and not just one, but two arms wrapped tightly around. I doze and try to be present in this moment, soaking in this little but lanky boy while he hums to himself and stares at me 1 cm from my face, giggling, “I love you, Mommy.”

    • Sage says...

      Love love LOVE! <3 My 2 year old calls our bedtime story "cuddletime" and it is by far the best part of my day.

    • C says...

      My kids called this a huggle. That sweet smell of soap and boyhood. So happy you get to enjoy it.

  56. Agnès says...

    Oh! I wrote the comment about when my mom was in her last days… 5 years after her passing, I still think that at the end of our life, only love matters, and to hold my mother’s hand, when there is nothing else you can do anymore, and leave her “at the gate” was the most beautiful, sad and meaningful moment of my life.
    (That a mom prepared hot chocolate for your morning wake up really gets me, isn’t it so so beautiful?).

    • Jenn P says...

      The hot chocolate gets me too! I had a really hard time my freshman year of college – being away from my family for a the first time, a mean roommate, and ultimately, I’m shy and it’s hard for me to meet new people – so my mom started sending me a card every day. More often than not it just said, “love, Mom” in it, but sometimes there were snippets of news – something my brother did that was annoying, a funny work story (she was an OR nurse), or how excited she was that I was coming home or she was coming to visit. She sent a card every single day my entire 4.5 years of college, and afterwards, still sent one a couple times a week. She passed away 8 years ago, and I still have all the cards. Moms really are the best.

    • This brought back such a sweet memory of my Dad in his last moments. He was in hospice care and had not woken for many hours, and I knew the time was near. It was just the two of us in his room, and the only thing I could think to do was talk to him and hold his hand. In the last seconds before he passed, he squeezed my hand so tightly, and I just knew it was him saying goodbye. I feel the same as you – it was the most beautiful, sad and meaningful moment of my life, and when I need to remember how much we loved each other, I think of that moment.

    • Mary says...

      I so agree about spending my mom’s final moments with her. We had gathered in the hospital room with my immediate family and my mom’s sister and cousin and as the moments drew on we lapsed into telling funny family stories. My mom’s breathing had been very labored but as soon as we all started laughing she relaxed and passed away a few minutes later. I like to think she felt she could go on knowing her family would be ok <3

  57. ML says...

    These were lovely and gave me hope in a very dark time. In the midst of the pandemic and all that is 2020, I have just had my life upended when finding out my husband of 15 years has been having affairs with other women. The hurt is deep and the anger and confusion feel endless. I am trying to keep it together at home with our kids who are distance learning while I also work a busy job full time. When I saw the title was comments on love I wasn’t sure I could handle reading them, but it was a balm to read the ones on love coming from parents, friends and children. It reminded me that I receive love from so many different people, and that is what is going to help me get through this canyon of which I am standing at the precipice.

    • Diana says...

      ML, I am so sorry. You can do this, and you are not alone.

    • Justine says...

      ML – I’m so sorry. I wish I could reach across the distance to where ever you are in the world and give you a big hug, then send you to bed to grieve while I did all your chores and tasks for the day.

    • Eliza says...

      Sending you so much love. You can and will come through this. Rooting for you from Cincinnati!!

    • Lisa says...

      Eliza, I’m in Cincinnati too!!

      ML, you sound like a strong, brave person. Sending you love.

  58. Rachael Schiffman says...

    What a beautiful post. Love this so much!

  59. Annie says...

    This blog is so human in the most beautiful perfect ways. Thank you for all of these comments in one place.

  60. Little Miss says...

    i always kiss my nephews and nieces hands so one day, after high-fiving the gentlest nephew, he grabbed my hand and kissed it in the same loving,adoring way I’ve always kissed them.
    same nephew,when my mom and i were talking and he thought i was speaking of my self in a bad way (about my weight) jumped off his chair and said YOU ARE NOT FAT!!!!

  61. Cama says...

    My mom had brain cancer and was doing her daily laps around her house on her walker. I was tying my shoes to go for a run. She wasn’t talking much then but looked up and said, ‘you’re beautiful’. My mom loved me in an intense and fierce way I still can’t fully comprehend today. Love comes in so many unexpected and interesting forms.

  62. Kathryn says...

    This lit up my night. Thank you <3

  63. ML says...

    These made me cry. I need this reminder of human beauty today. Thank you!

  64. Marie says...

    The other night, our 6 month old was nursing when he gently stopped, groggily opened his eyes and then reached up, looked at me lovingly and touched my cheek… then he just as gently went back to nursing. My heart just about burst.

  65. Gloria says...

    Thank you everyone for you comments. Olivia, thank you a tad bit more. My son is high functioning autistic if you do not look at his interpersonal relationships. I know he too would say Thank you if we had all known what we were dealing with when he was young. And I still struggle with that.

  66. CC says...

    These were amazing, so thank you. I was going to say that this is a great way to end the week, but oh…it is only TUESDAY. :)

    • S says...

      I woke up this morning thinking it was Saturday! Was a bit of a drop when I realized it is only Tuesday, ha.

    • Annie says...

      Ha, this made me laugh. And it’s still only Wednesday!

    • Katie says...

      Haha CC, I felt this comment in my soul.

  67. Jill says...

    BIg hugs, Katie.

  68. Rae says...

    Oh my. This post is a GIFT. Thank you Kim and Cup of Jo team, and of course all these commenters. These are just the moments of grace and humanity that I needed to read today. I know I will be coming back and rereading frequently.

  69. MM says...

    At 22, after 7 years of being together, I followed my high school sweetheart to California from Indiana for his job. You can guess what happened. There I was with no friends, family, and now, love. In a small town, I didn’t choose. I had to physically pick up a package at the USPS facility and the employee while checking my drivers license said , “Wow, Indiana. You’re a long way from home.” I immediately welled up. And, with such empathy, he said – “I followed someone out here too. You will get through this.” I still have chills 15 years later.

    • Chrissie says...

      That comment gave me chills too!! I need to know- did you stay in California or go home??

    • Mel says...

      But are you still with your high school sweetheart?!

    • MM says...

      Left! Went to law school in NYC. Met a man from my hometown in Indiana IN nyc. Married him and just had a baby.

    • Rachel says...

      Thank you for sharing, MM! I was wondering what happened next.

  70. Lisa says...

    A few years ago when I was in grad school I was studying in the library. My brother sent me an email with some emails my dad had written to him 20 years prior when my brother was in college. My dad had Parkinson’s Disease and dementia and at the time could barely speak. When I read the emails I could hear my dad’s intelligent, kind, brave voice-which I hadn’t heard in years. I went to the bathroom and sobbed uncontrollably. A kind girl asked if I was okay and when I couldn’t respond said “It’s okay to be sad” and then gave me M&Ms (which are my favorite). I never saw her again but I will always remember that.
    My dad died a few years later. I read the emails once a year or so. I miss him terribly.

    • KA says...

      Oh Lisa, What a kind gesture. What I wouldn’t give for some emails from my dad to read now! He passed away before there was email. Hugs to you.

    • Annie says...

      Sending hugs your way, Lisa. I work on software for a Parkinson’s disease clinical trial. I have learned a lot about the disease and how it impacts so many people around the world. Although your father has passed, I wanted you to know there are many people hard at work trying to find a cure!

    • Jules says...

      Oh my goodness Lisa, your story made me cry. What a great thing for the both of you to have from your dad, and that your brother thought to share them with you when you really needed it <3

  71. Toni says...

    Jackie!! Your story made my heart giggle. I’m so happy you have such a great best friend.

  72. Laura says...

    Nice time for me to ready this because I am 9mo pregnant with my first child and want to kill my husband… NOT feeling the love today!!!

    • Jeannie says...

      Right there with you, sister. Due in about 8 weeks and shooting dagger eyes at my husband all day. =)

  73. Mary A. says...

    …and then I couldn’t get pregnant and the cycle started all over again. And guess what- two sweet babies later, I guess I am waiting for the next thing to stress over!

  74. AN says...

    Thank you, CoJ! these comments are the best therapy i could’ve asked for now. I fried my balls out knowing that there are so many good souls out there. It gives me hope as i am going through a rough patch in relationship.

    • AN says...

      cried*

    • Caitlin says...

      Fried my balls out is for sure my new favorite way to say cried my eyes out 🤣💞

    • Melissa says...

      An “friend my balls out” literally made me laugh out loud through tears and I can’t stop laughing. Thank you, what a gift!

    • Emma says...

      Oh this is too good xD

    • Natasha says...

      The best thing about this comment, An, is you correcting the fried typo but not realising (…or did you…?) you’d left out eyes!! Truly hilarious!! :’D xx

    • Chrissie says...

      Yah let’s just keep it as “fried my balls out” lol. Also same!

    • Tiffany says...

      Also LOVING “fried my balls out”. COJ comments are truly the best.

  75. Charlotte says...

    A few years ago, I was traveling back from Christmas at my parent’s house. I was newly pregnant and had terrible morning sickness, which led to fits of vomiting into a baggie all throughout airport security and the long walk to my terminal. Since it was the height of flu season (and I still didn’t look pregnant), onlookers distanced themselves and I even got a few “why would you travel and infect us all with your sickness” looks (which I totally understand, I probably would have responded the same way).

    When I got to my terminal, I found a quiet corner to sit down and cry (and vomit into a bag, couldn’t make it to the bathroom). A kind woman saw me, and brought me tissues and a bottle of water. She showed me compassion and true empathy, and I’ll never forget her kindness. I hope I can do the same for someone someday.

  76. Betsy says...

    I recently got a birthday note from one of my fifth grade students (who I also had when I taught kindergarten), and it makes me laugh and choke up at the same time. I plan of framing it in all of its grammatically messy glory.

    “I wish you a happy birthdays [sic]. You have been my favorite teacher in kinderaden [sic] and no in firth [sic] grade you are funny and kind and sometimes patiece [sic] with us you tell funny stories you wear funny socks and you give us chances you are caring, Passionate, Intelligent, and Thoughtful and more. There are so many things to love like, and care about you. I wish you a happy birthday.”

    • Kate says...

      “you give us chances you are caring” is so so kind. Thanks for sharing this lovely, lovely note.

    • C says...

      💛💛💛💛💛

    • Sarz says...

      Oh, that’s so, so lovely. We pupils really do think the world of you teachers. <3

    • Jenny says...

      Such a beautiful letter, I would frame that too! Well done, you are clearly an amazing teacher:)

  77. D says...

    I don’t know about you all, but I have MANY follow up questions to “novel-length erotic Hannibal fan fiction.” :)

    • Tis says...

      I mean…at least we could get a link!

    • Jill says...

      I knew if I scrolled I would find my people. LOL! Link please!

    • Jules says...

      SAME! Who is this author, Jenny ? What is “erotic Hannibal fiction”? What is the non-novel length option??

    • Agnès says...

      ahahaha!!

  78. Daphne says...

    In our first year living together, my boyfriend and I were discussing Chinese New Year customs from our families that we wanted to keep celebrating in our new household. One traditions in my family is to cook 2 complete (head and tail included) fish on Chinese New Year eve, then eat one that night and save the second fish for the following night’s dinner. The word for “fish” and “surplus” sound the same in Chinese, so having fish both nights signifies hope for having a surplus in the new year. At that point in our lives, my boyfriend and I weren’t very confident in our cooking skills yet, so we were intimidated by the thought of steaming a whole fish. I suggested substituting in Goldfish crackers, thinking it was kind of tongue in cheek since the cracker shape includes both the head and tail. My boyfriend looked a bit startled, slowly stammering, “and where do you get goldfish?” I was confused, answering, “um, in the cracker aisle?” Turns out he thought I had suggested buying goldfish (the actual fish!) from a pet store to cook and eat! When we finished laughing about the misunderstanding, he told me that he was startled but had been trying to keep an open mind. I love him for his graciousness!

  79. Katie says...

    I’m 31 and recently ended a five year relationship with a person I thought would be in my life forever. I’ve been blessed with a happy disposition and resiliency my entire life, which has included some hardships, but this year there are days I just feel so alone – like I will never have some of these things readers wrote about: a husband who is “my best friend” to have inside jokes with, or little kiddos who love my “jiggly body”. Deep down, I believe it will happen one day as long as I keep trying and stay true to myself. But it doesn’t *feel* that way day to day. Instead I feel alone. I feel exhausted trying. And I feel like my life is missing something because its not what I envisioned for myself by thirty. I’m trying so hard but the world isn’t responding. When I look at my life on paper – good, secure job, healthy body, loving friends – I feel guilty. I have nothing to complain about. And yet, I feel like I’m loosing confidence in myself, and the idea that I can achieve the things I thought I could, and be the things that I most want to be – like a great mom, or someone who supports their own family. Instead I just feel alone.

    These comments made me laugh and happy, but also so, so sad.

    • Mary A. says...

      It will happen! I married my husband at 33 and we met when I was around your age and having the same anxieties and doubts. It is so hard when the future is uncertain and then one day you look back and think, “Everything happened exactly as it should have.”

    • Mary A. says...

      …and then I couldn’t get pregnant and the cycle started all over again. And guess what- two sweet babies later, I guess I am waiting for the next thing to stress over!

    • Jess says...

      I feel you. I’m sure everyone on this forum does. It is so hard to transition, especially when it’s from something you wanted into the unknown. So hard. You’re right to trust yourself though, everything is always changing and we tend to get what we go after in some form of another. But be sad. Be happy. Know that though you feel alone that feeling (and state) is temporary.

    • Laura says...

      See my above comment about wanting to kill my husband… I hope that makes you feel better too!! You are wonderful and just where you need to be… I know it. Xoxo

    • Kate says...

      Katie – Just stopping by to say yes, I feel how you feel – I have a great job, amazing friends, health, etc. I had always felt good about my “it’ll happen for me when it/if happens!” attitude about marriage and kids. But now, at almost 30, that attitude is slipping away. I love love love celebrating my friends and my life and all of it, but it’s bittersweet and I’m sometimes left wondering *if* that life will be something I get to long-term share with someone and have inside jokes with my husband. I’m telling myself it’s ok to be disappointed that some things I envisioned for myself haven’t happened or might never happen. I think we get to grieve for how we thought our lives would be, and it doesn’t mean we aren’t grateful for what we have. You can hold all those feelings and imagined selves at once.

    • Amie says...

      Katie – I read through the COJ comments and am always floored by the wisdom and brilliance shared by our fellow reading community. This isn’t one of those comments unfortunately. I don’t have any magic words (lets hope someone else comments with the right things to say!), or an action plan on to move through this season because it sounds like the vision for the life you thought you were going to have has just come crashing down around you – and that just completely sucks and hurts. Just know that your comment moved me because you so perfectly articulated how I’ve been feeling in my early 30s since my breakup earlier this year. I too feel like I’ll never be able to obtain the things that I envisioned for my life (having a loving partner, being a mum), and that despite my best efforts to date (safely in the pandemic) and engage with life – I’m going to be alone and lonely forever. Reading your comment however, made me feel a tiny bit less alone and so I just wanted to share a sincere thank you for that. I believe we’re good people, looking for the good and trying to find it despite the voice in our heads that has doubts sometimes (thankfully not all the time thanks to resilience and gratitude). If we continue to keep looking then one day we might find everything that we’re looking for. But it’s ok to sometimes shut our eyes because we’re exhausted and sad too. Sending you lots of affection from one lonely heart to another x

    • Abbe says...

      Katie, I’m so sorry, that must be so hard. I feel like the word “break-up” doesn’t do justice to what ending a relationship in your thirties feels like — not just the loss of the relationship but the tailspin in throws into future plans. I too believe that you will get to have the opportunity to be a great mom someday and that you will one day get the kind of loving partner you deserve. There are so many paths to those things and even if they are not the ones you originally envisioned, they are still there, ahead of you.

      This stranger on the internet has confidence in you. :)

    • Ann Sharfstein says...

      Katie, it is so hard to feel alone. I’ve been there for sure. I just wanted to send a little love your way.

    • Rae says...

      Katie, I am sending you a virtual hug as well as the compassion and grace that you can’t give yourself right now You clearly want a partner and kids and that is nothing to feel guilty about. That you also know that you are lucky to have your health and family just means you are someone who doesn’t take good fortune for granted. Many people are grieving right now and you have every right to grieve as well. Losing a significant relationship and all the promise of a shared future, during a pandemic, is a huge emotional hurdle.
      I know many, many folks who met partners, best friends, future parents of their future children after the age of 31. Please hold onto hope for all your future joy, love, connections, and inside jokes.

    • Caitlin says...

      Katie, here is a stranger who is rooting for you. Your strength and beauty are so evident just in your comment. I’m thinking of you going through your hard time. You’ll get through this. I see you. You’ve got this.
      Xoxo

    • Rebecca says...

      Katie: We didn’t do feelings very well in my “family of origin,” but my mama used to say, “Feelings aren’t right or wrong. They’re feelings.” I hope you can find a way to address the loneliness you’re feeling–I’m an equal proponent of talk therapy, exercise, reading, and adopting a pet–because 2020 has been a tough year, sister, and “I feel exhausted trying” is probably a wicked understatement, as we say in Maine. Please treat yourself like you’d treat a beloved friend, as a being deserving careful attention. Thinking of you, holding you in the light, and wishing you comfort, in whatever form works for you. Give yourself lots of candles as the darker months arrive.

    • Julie says...

      My mom told me something yesterday that she had just learned in a class, the gist of which is: the yearning for something indicates fullness.
      I have those things you yearn for: husband, kids, and jiggles (ok, maybe you don’t necessarily yearn for the jiggles :), but I still yearn for something.
      Maybe the fullness of love means there’s just more love to give, and all the usual places (partners and families) are not the only places to express that love. You are full of love. It’s ok to want to express it to people that haven’t yet materialized, and it’s ok to be sad about that. But right now you’re not alone, and there are plenty of ways to express the love you’ve got.
      And PS the life we envision for ourselves isn’t necessarily the life we need or want. There are so many possibilities. Don’t be hard on your now self for not living up to what your 22 year old self thought your life should be.

    • Gina says...

      Hello Katie…
      I am sitting here thinking of how I wish I had the “magic” words to send your way….but I will send you a virtual hug and tell you IT WILL GET BETTER, trust me.
      I had that love and spent 10 years waiting until I decided to hit the road and never looked back.
      I stated school late and low and behold met a man slinging hash in a greasy joint! Who knew., ha!
      I married at 41 and 19 years later I am starting a new career and have a lovely husband and I am a dog mom to Greta a GSD!

      You will get through this tough patch and find that special One that deserves you!!😊

    • Gina says...

      Hello Katie…
      I am sitting here thinking of how I wish I had the “magic” words to send your way….but I will send you a virtual hug and tell you IT WILL GET BETTER, trust me.
      I had that love and spent 10 years waiting until I decided to hit the road and never looked back.
      I started school later and low and behold met a man slinging hash in a greasy joint! Who knew., ha!
      I married at 41 and 19 years later I am starting a new career and have a lovely husband and I am a dog mom to Greta a GSD!
      You will get through this patch and find that special one that deserves you!!😊

    • L says...

      Katie (and Amie), just another lonely heart here to say I am also in your boat.
      The loss of self confidence that I still haven’t met my person, the sadness over dreams continually unrealized… it’s so real. I turned 32 during this pandemic and it just all feels like too much. Even though I too know I am so lucky to have lifelong friends, a secure job, and a safe cozy place to live. I have always known I wanted to share my life with someone and have a family. It’s starting to feel like it will never happen. Especially as I see so many pandemic engagements, weddings, and babies, but I can’t even get a date that I want to see again.
      As Amie says, thank you for sharing your sadness Katie, as it has actually helped me feel less sad/alone and that there are others out there in this stormy sea with me.

    • Tina Crisas says...

      I met my husband at 39.5 and gave birth to our beautiful baby girl at just shy of 43 three and a half years ago!

    • Carol says...

      Katie – just wanted to say I see you, I hear you, and I feel you! I am 34 and believe I’ll meet someone, but still sometimes these feelings hit when I read or see these sweet things too.
      What I try to remember is the same thing I will tell you: you already have someone amazing who you will share the rest of your life with – you! Turn your focus onto doing things that bring you joy and enjoy spending time with yourself – take yourself out for a picnic, or sign up to those Italian classes you’ve always meant to do, etc.
      Also, you still have a good 10 years or so to have kids! Think about how long ago 21 seems – a lifetime ago, right? You never know what will happen in the next decade. And maybe you will end up building your family through adoption, or you’ll meet an amazing partner who already has children. The point is that all the love you have to give won’t go to waste. Spend it liberally on yourself first, and remember that your worth doesn’t depend on your identity as a partner or mother. xx

    • Lauren says...

      Hi Katie. I’m 31 too and my boyfriend of 11 years left me last year. I was totally floored by it and completely afraid of a future I had imagined in my head, a future with love and children and growing old together, the whole thing. And I honestly never cared that much about things like children when I was in the relationship. I really felt every bit of my foundations cracking with the pain of heartbreak.
      This isn’t much help now but I promise you that you will feel better. It’s been just over a year for me and I feel more ‘myself’ than I’ve ever felt and feel so much more connected to the other amazing people in my life. It’s still hard sometimes and I have moments of freaking out but they are much smaller and less frequent.
      I really recommend reading the quote by Haruki Murakami on ‘the storm’. I actually read it in the comments here just after my breakup and it perfectly described how I was feeling and how things have felt since.
      I would say let yourself feel sad, feel the missing parts, lean on the people who you love for all the support they can give (you can be there for them one day that they need it). You will get through this. You have all these funny, romantic stories ahead of you. Neither of us got what we envisioned for ourselves by the time we were thirty but maybe by not being limited by these ideas we have opened up our lives for something even more wonderful. Sending you strength.

    • Adeliana says...

      I can’t say I have any answers for you – I don’t, but I do have the advice of don’t feel lose confidence or hope.
      Be your own best friend, love yourself hard, be the best mom you can be to those who need a mother (be that friend, pet, parent, sibling or stranger) in that moment, and know that you can achieve anything you need to without a partner – it takes a little more planning if finances or structure is required but you are more than capable.
      And if life doesn’t quite lend itself to the plans you had, know that nobody gets the life they planned in full – it’s how you accept and adapt that shapes how full your life is.
      I hope you do get all you want but I also hope you can find gratitude and love for all you get.

    • Christina says...

      Hi Katie (and Amie), sending you both a big hug today. It’s okay to feel alone and disconsolate. It’s so hard to have a big breakup like that.
      I also wanted to share this sweet piece about Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff. I know it’s another sappy love story, but it’s also a story about someone finding love (and starting a new career!) in their late 40s. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/11/09/doug-emhoff-kamala-harris-marriage/

    • Shannon says...

      Seconding Rebecca’s suggestion of getting a pet. This might be super cringey, but my cat Abby was definitely one of the loves of my life. She filled the void of losing a relationship that I thought would lead to a family of my own one day. That relationship was so wrong for so many reasons that I couldn’t see at the time. Abby saved me.
      I’m a nurse and take care of kids and babies all day. A cat is about the same weight as a baby and about as annoying sometimes ;) It feels really really good to care for someone and it’s a great way to take care of yourself! Also, dogs are just the best ever. I don’t have any pets now and I know I am missing out.

    • Ileana says...

      Katie, I’m sorry you’re feeling sad. xoxo to you

      Also wanted to offer this perspective – I got married at 26 and had my son at 30. I’m 32 now, and looking back, I just feel like I was *so young* when I got married. It’s really not that long ago but I feel more myself and more comfortable in my own skin; I suspect I’ll only feel more strongly about this in a few more years. There’s so much more life to live! At 31, I don’t think you’ve missed this boat you want to be on. Not. At. All. :)

      more xoxo to you!!

    • peg says...

      Sending you a big hug, Katie.

    • Danielle says...

      Such wonderful responses. I ended what I thought would be a forever relationship when I was 33. I was full of resolve but I remember moving into my new tiny apartment. My first place all on my own and my mom burst into tears and said “I just hate the thought of you having to start all over!” After my parents left I laid on my bed and cried, my resolve all but lost. Moments later a friend called. She could hear in my voice I was struggling. She dropped everything and brought pizza and gin and tonics to my house. When I told her what my mom said she said, “No. You’re thinking of it all wrong. You get to start over and there are so many possibilities.” I spent the next couple of years cultivating new friendships and I met my husband at 35 while a bridesmaid at the wedding of two of those friends. I don’t think that every one of these stories has to end in “Reader, I married him” but I do think that those dark transitions in life can really be life changing. There are so many possibilities you can never even see coming.

    • L says...

      Sending you a big hug. You’re allowed to be sad or feel like you’re missing something even if everything in your life is “good.” You sound like you’re plenty grateful for the good things :)

    • Yulia says...

      I had a long (almost ten year relationship) end last year when I was 35. It wasn’t easy for me, but once I’d felt what I needed to feel and let everything wash over me that needed to, I was able to move on. It took time. Hard things take time. Suddenly being pushed out of your nest as an adult is disorienting and frightening and can feel hopeless, but the opportunities for growth and connection with yourself and with others are a gift. You don’t have to find a single drop of comfort in this comment, though. Just know you aren’t at all alone in your loss and bewilderment. Sending you love, my fellow human. You’re more resilient than you realize. Take care.

  80. BeverlySomething says...

    I’ve been going through some horrible bleeding for over four months now. (Don’t worry, I’m seeing doctors about it.) A couple weeks ago, I went to spend the weekend weekend with my mom and when I went to my room I found that she had left my “period towel” out for me and had also left a stash of my favorite tampons in every bathroom. If that’s not love, man. I don’t know what is.

    • Amy says...

      That’s really sweet Beverly.

      Every time I come home to visit, my mom picks up things from the grocery store just for me that nobody else in my family eats. As a Vietnamese immigrant, she’s less familiar with some of the items, but she pays attention, and it’s really touching. Unfortunately, she’s a cost-saver at heart (#immigrantlife), so I’ve had week-long visits where I’ve had to plow through family-sized tubs of Greek yogurt and hummus :)

  81. Susannah says...

    Cup of Jo, I dont know how you’ve gathered such a crowd of thoughtful, funny, caring readers so that the comments are so moving, so articulate, hilarious and vulnerable. They’re my favourite part of your blog and I look forward to these collections of reader comments . I love this online place of encouragement, connection and diversion. Thank you all!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh, me too! I pinch myself every day.

  82. Megan says...

    Love that last one! One time, while trying to login to a joint account that my husband had set up, it kept asking me a secret question, which was “Who is your best friend?” After attempting to answer with what felt like every friend I knew to be special to him, I finally texted him and said “Trying to log in to our account, FOR THE LOVE OF GAWD WHO IS YOUR BEST FRIEND. I’ve tried everyone we know!” He responded with one word. My name.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Sob!!!

    • Laura says...

      That is a scene from a movie!! So romantic.

    • Amy says...

      brb CRYING

  83. Jane says...

    Once, in the middle of a very rough day at work, I stepped out of the office to take a breather (aka cry). As I was walking around crying, a woman popped out from behind a bush, handed me a packet of tissues and a BOUQUET OF FLOWERS in a beautiful glass vase, said “I hope your day gets better,” and disappeared before I had a chance to say a word.

    I still have the vase, and I hope to pass it along someday if the elusive combination of seeing a crying stranger + having fresh flowers on hand ever happens to me.

    • Lisa Z says...

      Honestly, this sounds like an Angel story to me! Such a quick, unusual gesture of kindness when you needed it.

  84. AJ says...

    :) Oh love this. I did something out of my comfort zone recently, not a huge thing and no great feat, but it felt kinda meaningful to me. It passed without fanfare and looked totally insignificant to most of the world, but two of my most favourite, cherished people (my sister and my best friend) messaged me to say how great they thought it was and how proud they were. Their acknowledgment and quietly cheering support really filled my heart. I felt seen and loved.

  85. Lynn says...

    “Kind, sparkling, inclusive oddballs make the entire world better!” Love love loving this, Jenny!

  86. Loren says...

    When the orders came early on for everyone to cover their faces out in public, I posted a pic of myself on Facebook wearing a Macgyvered mask consisting of a folded up cloth napkin and two craft loops. A few days later, an express mail envelope with four beautiful hand sewn masks appeared in my mail box, courtesy of my friend Donna.

    • This is wonderful. I love surprises/acts of kindness!

  87. Andrea says...

    “Kind, sparkling, inclusive oddballs make the entire world better! ”
    This made my heart burst!

  88. Stephanie says...

    These are making me teary and warm hearted. Thanks so much.

  89. LJ says...

    I get a bunch of likes on my FB/IG posts but none from my husband. I once teased him about it, and he responded, “I love you, and that means I love all your posts.” HA! This is the guy who hardly ever says “I love you” to me, so this is as good as it gets, and as meaningful/special for me.

  90. Kat says...

    Loved all of this! :)

  91. Katie says...

    I’m just about finished with my first trimester, and I’m a Kindergarten teacher who is teaching in person this year. I told my “immediate coworkers” at work that I was pregnant way earlier than I would have in a non-pandemic world, but I quickly realized when I found out I was expecting that I would need their help, wisdom, and understanding at work, where we are all navigating a very different kind of school year. They have been a bevy of love and support and often swoop in to give me a break if I need it. They ask about my appointments and which fruit we can compare the baby to. I keep thinking how happy and grateful I am that I felt comfortable sharing with them at only 5 weeks. Their love and kindness (along with ginger chews) is getting me through this. My partner is amazing at home too, but of course he can’t come help me teach the masked five and six year olds!

    • Katie says...

      *Their love and kindness ARE getting me through… :) (Teachers make mistakes!)

    • Aubrey says...

      Woo girl just want to say HI and CONGRATS! I am an administrator at a school doing some in person and some online… this year is a beast. Looking back on teaching while pregnant years ago, my eyes are filled with tears thinking about you teaching kinder in your first trimester in this insane school year. My coworkers were my saving grace during both of my pregnancies– and I am thankful for you that you have supportive coteachers to help you through this crazy time. Good luck, mama!

    • Carrington says...

      loved comparing my baby to a fruit! still call him Lemon to this day! 😂👍🏻

    • R says...

      Teachers are doing the heavy lifting always, and especially in this pandemic. Sending you lots of love and gratitude for the important work you do. And congrats on your pregnancy!

  92. JDA says...

    Early in our relationship, my boyfriend (now husband) hid a note inside my printer/scanner that read: “Beep beep. This is your scanner. You are beautiful and smart and funny and kind. Please dump boyfriend and be with me. Beep beep.” I still have it, and it still makes me laugh.

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      Hahahaha brilliant

    • Sage says...

      That made me smile! Happy for you. :)

    • Erin says...

      So, you still have the note, and the boyfriend/husband, but DID YOU KEEP THE SCANNER? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

  93. eb says...

    In the last week’s of my father’s life, I was working long hours at a law firm, and spending my evenings in the hospital, all while trying to manage a household and two kids. I cried on the commuter train every night because I was completely overwhelmed and it was the only time I got to sit alone all day long. Most nights it was just a tiny bit, but one night, it was a lot. I was embarassed, but defintely sniffing into my scarf. A lady scooted over from the row across from me and handed me tissues. I managed to sniffle out, “I’m sorry, my dad, he’s really sick” and she said “it’s ok” and just sat beside me, quietly, the whole ride home.

  94. Nicola says...

    Oh I love this.
    Every morning during the pandemic my husband and I go for a walk to our local coffee shop. He’s a natural extrovert and the young guys who work there totally love him. I’m more reserved, and we realised the other week that they don’t know my name.

    So now whenever we go there he makes a huge effort to bring me in on their jokes and ‘give the guys a chance to get to know me’. I actually don’t really mind that he’s the cool one, but it’s such an act of love every time he tries to bring me in. Makes me smile every morning.

    • What a lovely way to start the day! Your husband seems kind and mindful. Love this 💕

  95. E says...

    The one about loving your body got me (as did all of the others). I’ve learned to love and accept myself more and not place such a focus on my looks because I know how much I love my partner, weight fluctuations and all. Sometimes he is more firm and muscular and sometimes he is a little softer and his tummy is a little rounder, but he is always warm and snuggly and gentle. His weight doesn’t matter to me and mine shouldn’t either

    • K says...

      “His weight doesn’t matter to me and mine shouldn’t either”
      Yes!
      For me it also helps watching other people. Again this summer I saw a lot of women with my body type in nice outfits and they looked fabulous and sexy. I see many attractive people out there that do not look “perfect”.
      It’s just so hard to see that in myself – why is that?

    • E says...

      Exactly!! And I bet you look fabulous too :)

    • Sage says...

      TOTALLY agreed!! I’m married to an utter fox, no matter the number on the scale. I need to give myself the same grace and confidence. (Plus my sweet son finds comfort from my body too; for the past couple weeks he’s been walking over to me saying, “HUG!” and squeezing me tight. T_T)

  96. Each day, I thank God for her gentle hands and open heart. Her love is hot cocoa on the coldest winter night. We hug often, like two lovers reuniting after a long day, even if we’ve only been apart for a few minutes. Her hugs invite honesty and vulnerability. Her sincerity healed me. (I used to cringe when someone complimented me). When she tells me I’m beautiful- I believe her.

    • Katie says...

      You are! She’s right. <3

    • Katie! You made my day. Thank you for being kind and taking a moment to say something so affirming 💕

  97. Reina says...

    LOVED THIS!!!!

  98. Dorie says...

    “With the year coming to a close”? There are easily eight months left of 2020 😂

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahahaha and then a year of January

    • Muna says...

      I genuinely read this and thought – “Oh god, are there?!?” This year has been so strange.

    • Marie says...

      Muna hahahah i feel you.

  99. Ashley Johnson says...

    Love a good CoJ desk cry. Thanks, team.

  100. Micah says...

    I just resigned from my job today and these comments made me cry! Thanks for the pick me up :)

    • Ashley says...

      Good luck ahead Micah! 💜

    • Sage says...

      Don’t know the circumstances, but it sounds like you’re being brave! Good luck!