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Monday, October 26, 2015

Love Is.....

Today is my 19th wedding anniversary to Rainman.  We snuck away for a miniscule amount of I am reposting this article I wrote back in February about what love actually is....

Remember that comic strip from the 70’s, Love Is…..? They had the little naked people extolling little “love” snippets of wisdom. Remember that one? That was my first introduction to thinking about love. I remember reading that comic strip, feeling slightly creeped out that they were naked, but also feeling wishful that someday that would be me….in love. (Insert breathy sigh here…..)
I was a voracious reader when I was in high school. I think my mom would haul me back and forth to the library every Saturday morning for a new stash of books (I will have to ask her if I am remembering that right). I read a lot of things. I read Science Fiction, Action/Adventure, but, I also read a LOT of Harlequin Romances. They were pretty innocent back then. No heaving bosoms or anything. In lots of those, the couple would fight through the whole book and finally realize on the last few pages that they were meant for each other! Or, the heroine would be a young innocent 19 or 20 year old with her first job, of course, as a secretary who knew shorthand, and the hero would be the rich, foreign businessman that would boss her around for the whole book and then, finally, on the last few pages start being nice, because he realized he was in love.
I am not sure if mom knew that I was reading romances or not. I may have hidden those ones between the other, more scholarly looking books. But, my thought process on what the man/woman relationship should be, was being formed. Yes, by my parents and others I knew in real life, but, also every t.v. show I watched, and every book that I read. Let me tell you, the thoughts that were being formed were creating a very unrealistic idea of romantic love. Very unrealistic.
desperately wanted to be in love. To be loved. Of course, he would be handsome and rich. Of course, he would take me on whirlwind adventures and buy me things. Of course, we wouldn’t argue (even the young, naive me knew that wasn’t what ideal couples did!) Of course, he wouldn’t ever be gross or rude.
And, of course, I didn’t get asked out in high school.
I pretended that it didn’t bother me and kept busy with….everything I could. But, I was totally bummed out and felt like a loser. Wanting to have a boyfriend pretty much consumed my every waking thought.  Uggg, when I think of the time and opportunities I wasted on the pursuit of….love/boys.
Ahhhh, the foolishness of youth.
As someone who has come out the other side and survived numerous bad relationships from my first boyfriend, as a freshman in college, who was a pastoral student who didn’t like the attention I got when I sang and totally and completely broke my heart. To the pot smoking biker, with the wallet chained to his pants. To the, pretty sure he was slightly corrupt, police officer, that was 18 years my senior (Want to be a little creeped out? He was fighting in Vietnam the year I was born.) To the very bad, very brief, very unhealthy first marriage. I feel like I know a thing or two about love now. Real love.
I definitely feel like I know the difference between the important things and the not so important things now, when it comes to love. Things that teenage me, or even young 20’s me, wouldn’t have understood….or, would have even thought about.
Important things like:
Looks really aren’t that important. The man you fall in love with might have really gross feet. You will probably gain weight after having children. The man you fall in love with won’t care at all about how much you gained or how long you keep the baby weight. He really, really won’t.
Sadly, the lessons I learned about love, came from the failures. They were heart breaking, gut wrenching, and even downright stupid ways to learn. My hope is that somehow I can pass along these lessons to my children, so they don’t have to learn the hard way, like I did. Unrealistic? Maybe. But a mom can hope, can’t she?
I learned about someone truly loving me for me, not the package, by being married to someone who was all about the package. I won’t go into detail about that marriage, but, he seemed to love me (or be kind to me) only if I kept the house clean, and washed the dishes when he thought they should be washed. He hid food from me…for, in his own words, “my own good”, because he wanted me to “look like the woman he married”. The tall, slim beauty pageant blonde he was proud to be seen with. We got divorced.
I am still a little ashamed to be a divorced woman. That was absolutely not part of my plan for romantic love or my life. But, I am. It is what it is.
But, I learned.
Picture 1
I am happily married now, to Rainman. Someone who, much to my children’s embarrassment, is “all over me” size 8 or size 22….because….he loves ME….even when there are dirty dishes piled on every available inch of counter space, and when there is laundry, toys, and school projects strewn all over the living room.
Rainman really and truly loves me…for…me.
I want my children to learn from my many, many mistakes. I want them to know what is important in love and in life. I want them to know that boring is good. You don’t need drama, or even “chemistry” to be happy in love.
I didn’t think Rainman was cute on our first date, but, we closed down Baker’s Square that night, because we couldn’t stop talking. I didn’t like the way he was dressed. He had what I jokingly refer to as “anchorman hair”. I didn’t like the fact that he was Catholic. Since I didn’t even think he was cute, he and I certainly didn’t have any of the oft touted “chemistry” that everyone says is so crucial to a relationship. But, did you catch the part about us closing down Baker’s Square because we couldn’t stop talking?
Guess what? I think he is super cute now. We have had 9 pregnancies with 6 children to show for it, in our 18 years of marriage. Those children are in an almost constant state of embarrassment from us being so “into” each other. So, guess how our “chemistry” is now?
Picture 2
Rainman isn’t romantic. Never has been. Never will be.  I have survived. (Here is my dirty little secret….I am not really the right kind of girl to be on the receiving end of romantic gestures either. I roll my eyes at flowers, jewelry and mushy sentiments being expressed. So, I guess we were meant to be. LOL)
Rainman isn’t a lot of things. He isn’t selfish. He isn’t picky. He isn’t concerned about how I look.
Love Isn’t…..
Love Isn’t…..flowery words and gifts.
Love Isn’t…..romance.
Love Isn’t…..only for the good looking, rich people.
Love Isn’t….. going to stop bad things from happening to you. They will.

I want my kids to know that you will have days where you wake up and say, “Who is this person I married?” You might even say, “Why did I marry this person?”
I also want them to know this very important thing:
You will not always like the person you married.
That one shocked me. Scared me, even. Nobody told me that one (they didn’t tell me about morning breath and kissing either). But, once I figured it out for myself, I could scroll back through memories of couples that I have known – my parents included – and realize that it was true. It did not mean that I had made a horrible mistake in marrying Rainman. It certainly didn’t mean that I should cut my losses and start over with someone else. It was normal. It would pass. I would once again like, and fall in love with this super nice, and yes, slightly annoying, man.
Love Is…
Love Is…..your husband making sure you have a full tank of gas.
Love Is…..your husband going to the grocery store…so you don’t have to.
Love Is…..watching your husband make your kids giggle…..every single day.
Love Is…..being with someone who isn’t tied up with image….yours or his own.
Love Is…..your husband giving YOU a massage, even though you are a massage therapist.
Picture 3
Sometimes, love does NOT come in the package or the way you envisioned, (sometimes it is a size 22 – me, sometimes it is attached to a person with gross toenails – Rainman), but it can be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Rainman and I make absolutely no sense on paper, but we are awesome in real life. Boring, but awesome!