I think we can all collectively agree that we could use a momentary break from bad news. 2020 has been, without a doubt, the biggest trash heap of a year in recent memory. I don’t even need to list the ways. I’m sure within just a few seconds you can come up with a list a mile long. It’s been nine months of Murphy’s Law in action.
But for a few minutes, let’s lay all of that aside. There is a time for heavy, and there is a time to take a quick break and think about something good. Like love.
Instead of carrying the weight of the hardest year we’ve ever faced, let’s escape for just a few minutes. What better way to forget how terrible the world can feel than to immerse yourself into people’s stories about ordinary-but-heartwarming times someone went out of their way to show their love?
Scary Mommy asked people to tell us their stories.
Trust me when I say, the answers are exactly what we all need right now to warm our cold, exhausted 2020 hearts. So, in no particular order, here is an adorable list of times that humans showed up, took care of one another, and reminded us that sometimes, love does still win.*
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A couple years ago, my husband and I were playing some kind of silly couples trivia game, and he asked my favorite food in the world. My answer was chicken cutlets. No fancy sauce necessary. Just a really thin, crispy cutlet fried in olive oil. It’s delicious to me. He asked why I didn’t make them more often if I loved them so much, and I said it was because breading and frying is the one part of cooking I hate. It’s messy. It takes forever. I just don’t like it. So, he asked me to teach him. He practiced until his cutlets were perfect. It took time. Some were too thick. Others, too salty. His oil was too cold. Too hot. There were lots of flops. Eventually, he figured out his own perfect system, and now there is no cutlet on earth more delicious than his. Once in a while when I’m overwhelmed or the kids have needed me a little extra that day, or I’m just having a tough time, he gets out the flour, eggs and bread crumbs, and he painstakingly trims, slices and pounds the chicken. He makes me the most delicious cutlets with a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese. Sometimes love is a diamond ring, a wedding, a passionate kiss. Sometimes love is a shared struggle, an unlikely victory, an unconditional partnership. And sometimes love is a chicken cutlet.
“My husband keeps a dry erase marker in the bathroom. He will randomly leave messages on my mirror. Sometimes he does it after a hard day, but sometimes he just wants to say how grateful he is for me.” –Emily D.
“Ever since COVID Quarantine began, both of us are working from home full-time. He works from the dining room table on the first floor. I work from my bedroom and office on the 3rd floor. Every single day, he brings me lunch on a tray. He’s the best.” –Heidi W.
“My mom is amazing. My dad travels for work, with most of his trips concentrated in the summer months. Before he leaves on his first trip, she coordinates with the doctor and pharmacy to get extra prescriptions, and she sits down and organizes all of his morning and evening pills into boxes for the entire season.” –Amanda E.
“When my husband wakes up to get ready for work, he puts a pillow on his side to block my face when he turns the lamp on, so it doesn’t wake me up.” –Rebecca S.
“My son, Isaiah, can’t speak, so he turns on Elmo videos about love and family, and hands me the iPad to watch. He never gives up his iPad unless he wants to show me love. He laughs and giggles and makes sounds like ‘Mom.’ Last visit, he danced with me to one of the videos. It’s our special way of saying I love you.” –Lori N.
“My girlfriend leaves me love notes, especially when I’m stressed. She slid one under the bathroom door while I was on a video call, and another time she left one in my laptop for me to find.” –Sa’iyda S.
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“He was really scared of my wheelchair when I met him. So it didn’t seem like it was going to work out. But I had a soft spot for him. Ted was the smallest of his litter. He’d been really sick and they didn’t know if he was going to survive. The first time I went to meet him, I collapsed in his owner’s kitchen. But Ted wiggled over toward me and laid down on my chest. Everyone thought it was so cute. It was the first time I’d ever had a health scare that turned into something positive– so it seemed like it was meant to be. There are two options when you get an assistance dog. You can get a dog that’s already been trained. Or you can train the dog yourself—and that’s what I wanted to do. Because I needed something. I have this genetic disease. It weakens every part of my body, but it didn’t get bad until my teenage years. So I had this wonderful life and then it was taken away. I was isolated from my friends for so long. I couldn’t go to school. It reached a point where I couldn’t see a reason to live anymore. I needed something to focus on besides my health. And Ted gave me that. He needed me and I needed him. I watched all the training videos I could find. I read all the books. I reached out to people and asked for help. It gave me a reason to talk to people again. I hadn’t done that in so long. And I learned that I was good at training. Everything just flowed. From day one—we’ve been so in sync. He can fetch me anything. He helps me get undressed. He even watches me when I sleep, and wakes me up if I’m having night terrors. My mom was having to help me with everything before I got Ted. And she loves me so much. But she has two other children, and I know she was getting so tired. But Ted doesn’t get tired. He loves to help. He’s so excited to help. He’ll pick up the same thing seventeen times. It makes him so happy. He’s my world—really. He saved my life. He made me happy again. And he takes so much pressure off my family. He gives me a break from being the disabled child. From being the focus of everyone’s attention. He lets me be a daughter. And a big sister. He lets me be Chloe again.”
“My husband doesn’t like to cuddle at night, but I do, so he intertwines his legs with mine every night as a cute compromise.” –Lindsay W.
“My husband is a massive movie watcher. I rarely watch TV, let alone movies. Many weekends, you’ll find us on the couch, him watching a movie, and me leaning up against him reading a book. Last year, on our 22nd wedding anniversary, I gifted him with a scratch-off movie poster. I said that I would watch every movie on it with him, and I wouldn’t read a book while we watched. As we watch movies, we get to scratch off the title, and it reveals a picture underneath. I framed the poster, and he keeps it above his desk. Each weekend, he picks a new movie for us to watch together.” –Bekah A.
“My husband is amazing at this. This is one of my favorite stories. The text says it all.” –Rita T.
“When our daughter was a newborn, my husband took his shower and get dressed for work in the dark so the light wouldn’t wake me or the baby.” –Kate C.
“Very simple, but my husband gets me a glass of water before bed every night. It started out when I asked him to grab me one while he was near the kitchen, then he’d ask if I wanted one nightly, and now he just gets it whether I want it or not. I’m very capable of getting my own cup of water, but he insists. It’s so sweet.” –Andrea G.
“My husband is deployed, so one of my college roommates and her wife hired a lawn guy to come cut my grass while he is gone, just to take off some of the extra load. It was the sweetest– and one of the most kind and loving things anyone has done for me!” –Carolyn G.
“My older brother and I love puzzles. Probably 15 years ago, I bought myself a new 1000-piece puzzle When I got to the end of the puzzle, I found I was missing a single piece. A couple days later, there was an envelope on the fridge from my brother. It had the piece in it. He hadn’t found it– he had bought the same exact puzzle, and then went through all 1000 pieces to find the one I was missing. I still think this is one of the sweetest big brother moves of all time.” –Libby P.
“I was hesitant to do reciprocal IVF. It just didn’t feel right to expect my wife to carry my biological child and endure the trials of labor and delivery. My wife looked at me and said, ‘The only thing in this world I want more than becoming a mother, is to make you one. Please let me do that for you.’ And she did, with nothing but good intentions, and love in her heart for me, and now our daughter.” –Desiree A.
“I got on the sourdough bandwagon during quarantine, and I’ve given away about 30 loaves to probably 25 people so far.” –Cara L.
“Typically, on Fridays my son and I go get a donut and go to the library for him to pick out books. The library has been closed during the pandemic, but I can still check out books online and pick them up. I’ve been listening to things he talks about or is interested in each week, and then picking books based on that. I want him to know that even though life is weird and out of sorts right now, I’m still listening.” –Amanda W.
“My husband has a close-knit group of friends from college. One of guys died by suicide several years ago. After this happened, the group paid for a year of yard service so his wife and kiddo would not have to worry about it. They also continue to help with things like putting up his son’s club house, and other projects their friend would have done around the house. It’s such a sweet way they show their friend’s son how much his father was loved by his friends, and how much his father loved him.” –Amanda L.
“I fill my wife’s car up with gas every Sunday, so she doesn’t have to rush around on Monday and can focus on getting to work safely. I am not even sure she notices, but it’s one of the ways I show my love.” –Nikkya H.
“My best friend lives five hours away from me. Whenever she mentions specific things she likes, I screen shot it and send it to her boyfriend. For example, she showed me a screenshot of how she ordered her coffee the other day, so I sent him a picture so he can bring her a coffee the way she likes it later.” –Kate D.
“My sister came to stay with us during quarantine. We were drowning with work and no childcare. Her being with us and loving on our kids was a lifesaver. She appreciated the company too after a month of being totally on her own, but little kids are exhausting and even through that, she kept loving on them and us.” –Ann O.
“My aunt sends my kids cards on important historical days and minor holidays with brief, age-appropriate descriptions about the reason for the celebration or remembrance. During the pandemic, she’s been sending them good news cards just to brighten their days. She lives far away and never had her own children, so this is her special way of contributing to children she loves.” Mae W.
I mean…can you even stand it? When people want to be amazing, we are really good at it. The world is heavy and everything is really hard right now, but beautiful things are still happening, too. Try to hold onto that truth, and hang in there.
*Stories may be edited for length and clarity.