Yes, it’s that time of year again. Valentines Day is just around the corner. Little kids at school are preparing their paper valentines. Young women are hoping (or praying) that this is the year they get that sparkly ring on their finger. And guys everywhere are still talking about the Super Bowl.
Love is so many different things to people that I don’t feel that it can be shoved into one Hallmark holiday day each year. Love is different for everyone because it is personal and cultural and familiar and personal. Yes, I said personal twice.
Love is crazy and calm
Love is hard and soft
Love is scary and comforting
Love is warm and cold
Love is physical and emotional
Love is color and love is black and white
This is my love. These pictures were taken seven years ago but the feelings they evoke in me are so strong that every time I look at them my heart gets all mushy and I need to hold my breath.
My daughter was about eleven months old so my son must have been almost twelve. Babies, both of them. My husband and I had been married for seven years. Four of which we had spent living 3000 miles apart.
So much has happened since then. I’ve learnt and grown with these three humans right beside me. It’s been ugly and it’s been beautiful. Often on the same day.
Love is family
Love is memories
Love is growing together
Love is learning from each other.
Love is never having to say you’re sorry but saying it anyway.
The pictures say so much. My sweet sensitive son. My crazy adventurous daughter. My thoughtful handsome husband.
The Best Thing in Life is Love. Mushy, hold your breath love.
“I made a new friend today.” A normal thing for a seven year old to come home and say, but what about a fifty year old? As we get a little older it isn’t as easy to meet new people and really connect. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be as open and carefree as a seven year old? This summer I spent a week in the Okanagan with my daughter. Each day we would go to the lake and set up our chairs. She would look around, find somebody close to her size (smaller or bigger didn’t seem to matter) and go and play with them. Sometimes it worked out and the day was spent with her new best friend swimming and building sand castles. Occasionally, it didn’t work out and she would move on to the next small person. So easy and so unassuming.
A few years ago I was having dinner with a group of old friends. Our conversation turned to a women we had all met at a party a few weeks before. She seemed nice and one of us suggested we invite her to our next dinner. At this point one of my girlfriends said “Sure invite her, but I’m not interviewing for any new friends right now”. I didn’t think much of it at the time and we all laughed at her, but it has sort of stuck with me over the years. When you make a statement like that, don’t you close yourself off to so many new experiences, opinions and well, joys? Who’s to say that the person you met at the event you went to last night isn’t going to be your best friend in the next few years and bring a new perspective to your life. New ideas, fresh outlooks and perhaps even another new friend. Sure, they could be a total nut job, but wouldn’t it be better to find out first before you block them on Facebook?
I feel that the best thing to do at this stage in my life when starting a new friendship is to not have too high of an expectation. I know that may sound a bit cynical, but hear me out. I do not expect to have coffee with you every week. I do not expect to chat with you on the phone every day. I do not expect birthdays present or even a card. I don’t expect any of those things from friends I have known for years, or are particularly close to, so why would I expect them of some body I just met? I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to friendships. My friends have pissed me off many times over the years and I’m pretty sure I’ve done the same, but you get over it. In a solid friendship there is no judgment and there is no “Did I offend you”? Of course you did, but that’s okay, we’ll move on.
I met two great women this summer. In my opinion, both are strong, independent women with big hearts. I could see being friends with both of them; for completely different reasons. I also got to know some women who I didn’t know very well, a little better. All of this happened very naturally and easily. Again, there is no expectation that we will swap spit or have slumber parties anytime soon, but could I call them if I needed a friendly chat or some support? Absolutely. How do you know if the person you meet is potential friend material? It’s one thing to be able to carry on a conversation with somebody, but to feel like you could spend the day just hanging out and talking means that you have shared values and interests.
Maybe that’s why it is so easy for our kids to make new friends. They are without judgement. They see only a person who likes what they like and can build a mean sandcastle. The Best Thing in Life would be to open ourselves up like a seven year old and make some new friends. At any age.