Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
Where did you learn about love? I know, it may sound like a pretty strange question, especially if I sling it your way in the early days of our courtship. But, it's an important question nonetheless. I'm not talking about the good old birds and the bees talk here, Sweetpea. I'll assume you've taken a health class by the time we meet. I'm talking about love -- what it is, how it works, how to keep it going, how to put a metaphorical band-aid on it when it gets a little bruised and hurt, how to know when to let it go, how to know when to hold on to it, how to nurture it, how to protect yourself from it, how to open yourself up to it.
Is your head spinning yet? I know, mine too. Remember those marriage rules my parents taught me to break? Well, as ironic as it sounds, they're also the people who taught me everything else I know about love. From the everyday lessons to life-changing moments, here are three lessons my parents passed down to me, sometimes, without even knowing it...
True love is measured in small moments
When my aunt was visiting over the weekend, we got to talking about how my parents met. My mom said when they were first dating, my dad would come over to my mom's house after she got off work, and they'd spend hours on the couch just talking. My mom's parents would get up in the middle of the night and ask, "Brian, are you still here," and yes, he'd still be there. My parents weren't going out for a night on the town to some fancy restaurant. Some may say that their "date night" was decidedly boring, but if you ask me, that's the perfect, most romantic way of getting to know someone.
Life-changing events either pull you closer or push you apart
Luckily for my parents, all the life-changing moments they experienced as a couple brought them closer together. It's sadly not uncommon for parents of children with disabilities to divorce because of all the stress, but not my parents. They were both right there with me. During every surgery. During every hospital stay. They made my childhood magical despite all the unmagicalness (is that even a word...?) of the medical world.
The reality is more magical than the myth
This is one I'm still working on, but I'm getting there. It's tempting to fall in love with the idea of what could be, of who the other person could be, but you'll undoubtedly fall down a rabbit hold doing that. It won't be genuine. After all, who could ever live up to someone else's fantasy? My parents fell in love with who the other person really was, not who they wanted them to be. Sure, there were quirks and annoyances that my parents couldn't stand about the other, but at least it all was real.
When you think about it, our parents are the greatest teachers when it comes to love. They can either teach us what to do or what not to do, depending on the situation. I'm just glad I had such good role models in my parents. Let's be those same role models for our own children, OK, Sweetpea? Until we meet... xoxo
[Photos via Le Love]