There was always a kleenex in my grandma’s pocket. A breath mint in my mother’s purse.
We think we have to do the grandiose gestures to be loved. I have been guilty of this, for sure. But I teach myself, daily, as I remember the little things, that life is a series of smalls, little pieces of love and kindness that fit into those tiny spaces of your heart, and fill it.
Maybe it was because she started when I started. Since I was five, I went into my room and came out, presenting it to my mother. She said it was great – and I believed her. She used the same words that others would come to use, but when she said them, and oh, I can still hear it (please let me forever hear it), yes, when she said it, it meant the world to me. When she said the word “beautiful, it wrapped around my heart, the “b” connecting the vowels around each beat, into the “ful” – and yes, my heart was so full!
I guess nothing becomes familiar in true love. Never ordinary. You can say the words again and again — I love you — and when it’s real, little sparks continue to fly. When they enter a room, these loves, it’s the grand float of the parade we’ve stood on cement sidewalks waiting for in the heat of the summer sun. The same sidewalk where grandma handed you a Kleenex, after your Crazy Dayz grab bag from Ben Franklin turned out to be a dud. The same sidewalk where mother slipped a mint into your sweaty hand, as you were daring to say hi to the teenaged carry-out boy from 7th grade English. The same sidewalk your husband-to-be switched places with you so you would be out of traffic’s way.
I march in the parade of little things. I hear the tiny words, “I love you,” and believe them. Step outside with me today. Wave your hands in figure eights. True love is passing by.