On Friday of last week, I stumbled on this post linked on twitter. (Incidentally, because I re-tweeted it, the blogger subsequently followed me … ha!). I shared it with a friend who then thanked me profusely for it because it gave them insight into love as it is for some in a way they had never before had the opportunity to see for themselves. Their parents were never married and so they never got to see this kind of thing first hand.
It made me stop and think because right there, it hit me … hard! I take SO much for granted. The post was a “mmhmm yup” kind of experience for me more than anything else because for me, that kind of love is what I grew up seeing and what I always thought it should be.
My parents aren’t what you call overly-affectionate. Certainly not demonstrative. Watching them from afar, you would never think anything more than “these two have been together for a long time”. Yet, there was never ANY doubt in my mind that they loved each other and were devoted to one another… that they would do just about anything for each other.
My Dad spent a great deal of my childhood (and early teen years) at work… many days I’d go to bed without seeing him at all that day simply because he was up and out before I was awake and never got home before it was time for bed. I don’t think it phased me one bit because when he WAS around, he was VERY around – if you get my meaning. He was present, in the moment for the time he was present.
I guess it helped that Mom never batted an eyelash either. Now that I am married (again) and spend gross amounts of time away from hubby because of his job, I understand that the feeling was never even near resentment at his having to work. It was a acceptance and a tolerance that only love and affection can give. Yes, it would be nice to have them home when everybody else is, but at the same time, bitching about it does nothing, especially since there is nothing to be done about it. Dad would make extra effort to spend time with us too – when he could take us with, he would. When he could take us away from it all, he would.
Their relationship carved my idea of what a marriage SHOULD be. For me, oohs and aahs of puppy love and fluttering heart beats along with pinks and reds and flowers and candy and candlelit dinners only transmitted a feeling of superficiality. My parents were almost the exact opposite – there were never any candlelit dinners, no flowers at Valentine’s Day, no chocolates, no stuffed toys … they were all about being together, being considerate of each other, talking with each other, taking care of each other. That to me represented TRUE love.
And it is the kind of relationship I have sought all my life – that comfortable, warm, loving, affectionate kind of love – the one that makes you smile and snuggle in and fall asleep, instead of the one that makes you giggle and want to jump around and yell “HE LOVES ME” and show off to everybody around you.
Romance novels held nothing for me, it was superficial crap that meant nothing. You can give flowers all day long and STILL not love someone. But it takes a whole lotta love (silent bow to Led Zeppelin for that phrase) to make tea for them so they get a steaming cup as they walk through the door, care for them when they are sick, investigate when things go bump in the night, protect them with your life (yes, Dad had to do this once for Mom, but that’s a story for another day), know they could do with a snack and a drink and bring it for them at just the right minute (so many times, both of them have said “You read my mind – I was just getting up to get some of that”)… well, you get my drift.
Which is why, I guess, I am so atypical when it comes to being female. Hubby never bought me an engagement ring – I told him I didn’t want one (I lose stones too easily, hurt myself with things that stick out and away from my body, waste of money for something that holds little TRUE value, I hate drawing attention to myself, you know me… ;) ).
He doesn’t buy me flowers on Valentine’s Day – we both believe that the exorbitant prices for flowers (something so transient) is ridiculous – especially inflated as it is because of the commercial aspect of the day. Showing love is a 24x7x265 deal … not a once-a-year-on-a-day deal. I’d frankly rather spend the moeny, the time and effort on my own rose garden.
It’s not about the chocolates, or the jewelry … it’s about the time spent together talking, sharing, learning about one another. It’s the little gestures – me making him his favourite cookies to take the field this week or him bringing home 6 packs (!) of Cheetos because I was craving them loudly when I got out of the hospital 2 weeks ago.
THAT’s what makes it the best thing that has every happened to me. And that’s what *I* always dreamed my true love would be – comfortable, not showy.
I guess I got extremely lucky.