Miranda is big with the tough questions lately. Last week we were looking at picture of Grandpa Capriotti holding me the month he died – I happened to be 7 months old. She was asking me where he was now.

So I tried to explain heaven.

Then we had Easter, and since last week was way beyond nutters, even for our family, the best I could muster was a few egg hunts and some Easter books from the library (and having a BFF who colored eggs for us…Aunt Jen! rocks!). One of them was a bit more graphic than what I would have chosen for a 3 year old, but she wanted it. Which led to to the question – Why did they hang him on a cross?

So I told her: because He let them, because He loves us.

This morning, in the midst of my putting away dishes-toasting Eggos-folding clothes, she asked another doozy: What does love mean?

Seriously. Verbatim. What does love mean?

I answered her quickly, as the toddlers are not one with patience (nor our their parents). I told her that pat things: it means you enjoy someone, want to be with them, want them to be happy.

But the truth is, sometimes I spend more time thinking about what love does not mean…how it doesn’t mean forsaking or betraying people who have been there for you, it doesn’t mean talking smack about people who have been kind to you, it doesn’t mean turning your back when things get complicated or challenging or disaggreeable.

All day yesterday, I was reflecting on what love means, even though I didn’t see it that way.

See, yesterday, I wore purple for a little girl I never knew. In fact, I didn’t even know she existed until she had already left this world.

Yesterday, Maddie Spohr‘s parents and the baby sister who also never met her commemorated the one year mark since Maddie passed away.

Maddie was 17 months old. Can you even imagine?

Yesterday, I cried, I sent blog comments and tweets. A few weeks ago, I sent off a neighborhood donation to March of Dimes in her name. Yesterday I said prayers and tried to put myself in their shoes so I could have as much compassion as possible.

And today I see, that though I may never meet Heather, Mike, and baby Annie, I love them.

Love means a kindredness that we often poo-poo in our busy-Blackberry-lives. I never want to get that way.

Love means taking time to feel, even if it seems silly or insignificant.

Love means being inconvenienced, sharing your toys/food/spotlight/time,

Love means doing the hard things.

Love means finding the smiles in the midst of chaos.

Love, sometimes, means letting go, but most times, I think, it means hanging on with all your might…

…but it also means focusing on what you have, instead of what is missing –

because love, real love, exists whether it is returned.