xo: hugs and kisses.
X and O. Two simple letters. I use them when signing off on emails or texts, in Valentine’s and birthday and thinking of you cards, on little bits of notepaper tucked into school lunchboxes. XO. Hugs and kisses. I love you.
And I do. I mean it. Every X and every O is considered. I don’t take the sending out of love lightly, not out loud, not in print and not on screen. Lately, though, I’ve been relying on the XOs more than usual. I’m tacking them on to all sorts of simple communications, like mundane texts to my daughter about the extra cream cheese that’s in the garage fridge and in response to my friend back east when she emails me a book recommendation. “Thanks! XO.”
Expressing love is all well and good and even great, but I wonder if I’m not using XO as a substitute for the real thing. I’ve been feeling a lot of love lately, both for and from a lot of magnificent people. Writing everyday has coaxed me into close proximity with my emotions, something I’m not always comfortable with. Love is one of those big, booming symphonies that fills me up and yet leaves me breathless.
My love these days is mixed with gratitude, which makes it even more potent. I’m thankful for the space my family has given me to write and for all the ways so many stunning writers, both in real life and virtually, have engaged with me over the past few weeks. I’m incredibly thankful for my friend N and that we’re in this together. Forever. I’m grateful to my older two girls who are helping out like crazy around the house and eating cereal for dinner without blinking an eye because they can see I’m in up to my neck in words. The toddler gives me sweet hugs and her soft cheek to kiss, so I love her for that. I have so much love for my husband who has been endlessly patient and ridiculously encouraging. I’m thankful to my parents who have never stopped cheering me on and are now doing so on a daily basis, even though I’m all grown up.
I’ve been signing off with XO every chance I get, but what I really want to say is Thank You and I Love You and You’re the Best. My Xs and Os are plump with love, but there’s nothing like the real thing.
I’m participating in the 2014 A to Z Challenge during the month of April using the very broad theme of LOVE to carry me through the alphabet. Check out writing by other bloggers taking on the #atozchallenge at @AprilA2Z.