Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Heritage of Love

My veteran readers are probably wondering what am I going to trash this year for Valentine’s Day? What crazy, sassy, sarcastic blog am I up to for 2008? The thing is, though: I am not in such mood. So sorry to disappoint: I think I’ll be goopy, for a change!
I thought about my parents a lot today. Their love story is a bit unreal and seems out of cheesy paperback novels, and I haven't shared it with many, but here it goes.
They met on a train ride to the beach one summer. They were 17-18 or so. Mom looked very old (as in “mature”) and serious and very beautiful, by dad’s accounts. Dad was a hippy, bell-bottoms and flip-flops. He was passing her compartment, he stopped in awe and he asked her: “Why are you sad?”; in her typical, dry, fatalistic tone, she answered: “I don’t think I will ever, as long as I live, know what happiness is. It’s just the way it goes”. And she looked outside the window, and didn’t smile, like he was bothering her. Then, he sat down and he said, just like that: “Well, that will be my mission in life, then: to make you happy. One day”. That was their first dialogue. And the rest is history. Or the rest is my life ...
We don’t have Valentine’s Day back home, or at least we didn’t when I grew up. But their “love day” was the anniversary of the day they met. That day, on the train ride. And until both my sister and I left home, I don’t remember one such anniversary they celebrated without us.
We never went out. But on their “first date” anniversary, we would go out, the four of us. They didn’t want to be alone, and they didn’t want a party, like they had for any other celebration. They always told us: “On this day, when we celebrate our falling in love, we want to be with the fruits of our love, the two of you (me and my sister)”.
Dad, forever the romantic, Beatnik hippie, used to tell me and my sister: “Your mom and I are part of the ‘Love Story’ generation: little money and lots of love will keep us going forever”.
And thus years passed and we always knew to be prepared to go out with them for “love day”. And I really felt that for ONE day, at least, that I could tell … mom was happy. They both were. Happy and in love.
And so, today, when the world (or at least the American one) celebrates love, I give thanks to all the loves in my life, in memory of theirs. Even if single (again, I know: broken record), I can feel love and taste love, and smell it around me. And I am grateful for it.
And I am starting with the parents.
Hopefully, we’re all here because of love, or at least pleasure, and that’s one thing we can think about and appreciate on our own, without having to “share” it with “someone else”. We can just enjoy it, on our own. I am grateful for that every day of my life: that I am a “result” of love.
I try to give that feeling back to everything else in my life: my house, my family, my food, my friends, people I work with, books I read, every day that I open my eyes to, my cats, the way I cook, the way I plant my flowers, the way I write, and everything else I do or come across with. Love is mindfulness and respect towards all that, for me, and I share it freely. With all of you.
Mom and dad are still married, after 34 years of love, cat-and-dog style. She nags and is “serious” and “bitter”; he tries, relentlessly, to make her happy. Children are gone now, far, far away, but he buys her gifts on their love day, or just flowers, while she sighs with sad eyes, looking out the window. And I am sure they both feel the happiness, and bask in it. It’s there. Even if they don’t “call” it that!
Give love and feel it. It’s always there. You just need to be still and find it, listen to it, taste it.
And as my dad would want me to, I will end with the most absolute (if “absolute” can have a comparison degree!) definition of love: the one that John Lennon left us:

“Love is real, real is love
Love is feeling, feeling love
Love is wanting to be loved
Love is touch, touch is love

Love is reaching, reaching love
Love is asking to be loved
Love is you
You and me

Love is knowing
We can be
Love is free, free is love
Love is living, living love
Love is needing to be loved”

Happy Love Day, everyone!
And remember: we’re all loved, somewhere, and also “lots of love and little money can keep you going forever”. And we all come from it! So, just enjoy it, and be happy for it, and tread gently …

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