I’ve been thinking a lot about love the last couple of days.
For starters, there’s that rather large and obvious thing called Valentine’s Day that has just passed us by. Kinda can’t miss that. Love it or hate it, there it is. I can’t say we’re huge fans of Valentine’s Day here. We’re not huge haters, either. I guess we’re kind of take it or leave it folks. Don’t get me wrong – we celebrate and acknowledge it. There’s nothing inherently wrong about it. But we don’t go crazy and over the top. It’s a holiday (which isn’t even really a holiday, but a Saint’s feast day gone awry) that has become so focused on people being “coupled” and buying extravagant gifts to prove it. And if you aren’t? Woe to you. Please.Neither the Fab Hub nor I can make sense of waiting for a designated day to express love for someone. Neither can we fathom needing a day to remind us to do so. That kind of boggles my mind. His, too. Make no mistake, we aren’t perfect. We don’t always remember to say those words often enough. We mess up. All the time. But it’s not like we don’t love each other. We do. All the time.
I read a post over at The Slow-Dripped Life earlier today and I just love what the author said in her last lines: “It’s the day after and love goes on.” Indeed it does. Love isn’t one day of calorie-laden chocolates or an expensive bouquet destined for the trashcan. Love is every day. It’s a hot cup of coffee waiting for you on a cold morning or a load of laundry folded. It’s letting your spouse be the one to sleep in late or not nagging the crap out of them to get a chore done (even when you really want to). That’s real life. That’s real love.
And that’s where my second reason comes in.
The other reason I have love on the brain is that the day after Valentine’s Day is the anniversary of the death of my Lovely Italian Grandmother. When I think of her – and of my Wonderful Grandfather – I can’t help but think about love. The words from that post really struck me because, obviously, it actually was the day after Valentine’s Day when she died. But in a larger sense, even after they’ve gone, love goes on.
Those two people had quite a love story. It’s the kind of stuff movies are made of. And yet it was really just plain old every day. It was extraordinary in its normalcy. I don’t remember my Grandfather bringing home huge bouquets of roses or boxes of chocolates. I’m not even sure I remember cards – maybe sometimes. I do remember Valentine’s Day being a lot about expressions of love from parents to children – my own Mom did much of the same. But in general, it just kind of came and went like most other days of the week. Maybe my own expectations (or lack of) about Valentine’s Day and romantic gestures is based on the fact that I don’t recall seeing that kind of TV-commercial driven romance when I was growing up.
What I do recall seeing was her ironing his pocket handkerchiefs because he liked them that way. I recall her making him a ham and cheese sandwich late at night after he got home from a sixteen hour day of work and sitting with him while he ate. I remember him handling the monster of a vacuum cleaner and shoveling the sidewalk and long driveway when it snowed. I remember him fixing thing around the house. I remember them dancing together at weddings, standing next to each other singing at birthday parties, and holding hands as they sat next to one another on the back porch laughing with family and friends. I recall them hashing out their differences about one thing or another across the kitchen table, but never walking out on one another.
I think what perhaps made that love so extraordinary was that it was simple. It was real and honest. And it lasted through everything they faced together in life. It makes me sad to see people profess eternal love that really just ends up being as disposable as leftover Valentine’s Day roses or chocolate candy wrappers. I didn’t grow up watching that. I grew up watching Valentine’s Day look like just about every other day of the year in their house. And so perhaps that’s why to me, every day looks like Valentine’s Day.
Because love – real love – happens every day.