Have you guys seen the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love? Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, and Melissa Tomei opposite Ryan Gossling (of “hey, girl…” Pinterest fame), Steve Carell, and Kevin Bacon. Seriously– what’s. not. to. love?!
(I read something recently that it’s not cool to say “feels” instead of feelings anymore. But I still think it’s funny, so I’m about to use it. You were warned. And, to be honest, you kind of knew I was prone to use of lame words and phrases. It’s what I do.)
I loved this movie because it made me feel ALL the FEELS! All of them– the good ones and the bad ones, the happy ones and the sad ones, the victorious and the defeated, etc, etc, etc. Surprisingly, deliciously, hilarious and delightful! Highly recommend the watch.
Anyway, all of that just to say: I ripped off the title to title my Advent for Thirty post about l-o-v-e love! As promised! And I (almost) always keep my word!
The nice this about these Advent for Thirty posts is that I made some pretty lofty promises without a very concrete plan… incidentally, it ended up being a better advent that way because I actually had to reflect on all those things I promised. Good deal.
So love. Twuuuuu wuv. Thirty years of it, and lots more to come. And because of that… lots to think about. I have to admit, I’m kind of excited about the palindromic nature of my discovery! Who doesn’t like palindromes?!
Go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog! Never forget!
But my palindrome… kind of different.
Icky – Scary – Bliss – Scary – Icky
Of course there was lots and lots of love in my life right from the get go. I was my parents’ first child, which means that they’ll always love me best and in the most special way, but that’s not important to discuss right now. (Don’t worry Ab and Tom, I love you enough to make up for mom and dad’s inability to love you as much as they love me… there there.) But seriously, based on how much we all dote on my sweet and perfect niece Emma, I’m pretty certain that I was a very, very well-loved little girl. So that’s cool. But being pre-conscious memory at that point, I was pretty much unaware. (Lame baby…)
Once I finally did become aware of love, I knew I had it for my family. That was a given. I loved them, they loved me, and we always said it (and still do). We never end a phone conversation, walk out the door, or board a plane without saying we love each other. It’s just a thing we do. The end.
But love of other people? Ummmm… no. It was icky. K-i-s-s-i-n-g in trees and cooties and all of that. Icky.
As I got older, boys became interesting and friends were important. But love? Still scary. When I was in high school, for example, there was a guy from the band (I know, right? Very American Pie… band is like that. Stereotypes happen for a reason…) that I dated every year during football season. Pretty much every September through December, without fail. My freshman year, my sophomore year, and my junior year (then he graduated). I always broke up with him around New Years… it suddenly got too scary. The last time, he told me he loved me. I broke up with him the next day. I just couldn’t. Too much… too much! It was all Forrest Gump-like– “you don’t know what love is!” and I had to run and run and run. Whew. Close call. Scary.
But then I went to college. And in 2002, I met Seth. And that… that was not in the least bit scary. That was bliss. Bliss! That was the butterflies of a first date (you guys, he sang in the car while we drove to Watersmeet to see the Paulding Light– humoring my ghost obsession from day one!). That was watching the Northern Lights flicker and fade over Misery Bay and star gazing at Boston Pond. It was young, it was yooper-style (dang I love the UP!), and it was love… Bliss.
And then, things got kind of scary again. Because I really loved this guy. And slowly I realized: this was the man I was going to marry. This was the person I was going to spend my life with, that I was going to build my family around. His was the heart to which my heart would be tethered always. That’s kind of big. Kind of scary.
And that was in like 2004. So fast forward to 2010, we’d been dating for over 8 years, and the fear hit all over again as I thought that maybe, just maybe, grad school had broken me past the point of repair or redemption and Seth wanted out. That was also scary.
Turns out– Seth just gets weird when he has to keep a secret and he was bursting about the engagement ring he had picked out and worried that I suspected something. He always gives me too much credit… I’m oblivious more often than not. So we got engaged. We got married. We went on a honeymoon.
Because I told you this is a palindrome and you’re good at deducing patterns, I’m sure you know what’s coming back now: ICKY.
As lovely as our honeymoon was, it was also very, very icky. My poor new husband, man of my bliss, man of my fear, man of my heart, was sick. Oh so very, very sick. The kind of explosive sick that leaves you desperate for relief, but not sure which end to leave over the toilet. Highly un-romantic. Extraordinarily icky.
But as icky as it was, my heart was broken and I took care of my poor husband as best I could. (We were so lucky that our villa had a washer/dryer!) In sickness and in health, right? Love, real grown-up not scary love, means in sickness, too. This was sickness.
We’ve been home from our honeymoon for a while. We bought a house, we got ourselves a puppy, and now I have a little fur baby to love as though she were human (because yes, I’m one of those people), and love is still kind of icky. Have you ever seen a dog projectile vomit? It’s something spectacular– and I got to clean it up as Seth retched in the background. There’s no way I was going to clean up his vomit too at that point, one pile (pile, smear, disastrous explosion of sick all over my dog, her e-collar, the floor, the kennel, the wall, the closet door) is quite enough, thankyouverymuch. So I asked him to back away.
(Ok, don’t get me wrong– Seth is totally a trooper about cleaning up after Curls vomits– it’s usually not quite so horrifying as it was that night. Can’t really fault him for that.)
And what of love after 30? I imagine it’ll continue to be icky, scary, and blissful, all in turn. It will be shared with my husband, family, friends, co-workers, and pets. And despite any ick or fear, it will undoubtedly be sweet.
And now you know the truth: I am influenced far too much by movies and TV. I’ve confessed to you before that romantic comedies are my absolute favorite and that I refuse to apologize for it. I’m the girl the big movie execs add a love story for (even in Jurassic Park). Sorry about that if you’re not a fan– it was meeeeeeeee!!!
PS: I’m suddenly second guessing myself… this is not really a palindrome, just symmetry. And yet, I’ve gone too far with the palindrome theme to change it now. I’d rather be wrong than go back and change anything. Forgive me, please.