Real love doesn’t always look like you think it will.
Films and books often give the impression that love should be dramatic, torturous and difficult. That some kind of great obstacle must be overcome so that it can be earned, or that it must be won in some way by making oneself worthy of it (Brontë sisters - here’s looking at you). In the West we are very focused on romantic love and many of us spend enormous amounts of time and energy in the pursuit of it. And it is wonderful. However, there are other, quieter types of love that are often overlooked.
My grandmother died earlier this year and her death got me thinking about love and what it really looks like.
Granny was very rarely the sort of person that was the centre of attention. Instead she quietly made sure that everything worked as it should, and that everyone was taken care of and having a lovely time. When we were children she would spend hours sitting on the floor with us playing various board games, making puzzles, and reading stories. The dressing up box at her house was always full of different magical clothes we could wear and when that failed, she would graciously allow us to dress up in her beautiful clothes and shoes and totter around her house. Spending an afternoon at Granny’s was like entering a magical playground where everything felt safe, fun and gentle.
It took me a long time to really appreciate how special this all was, how much it showed her love for us. Not many adults would have the capacity to sit and play Snail’s Race (a game with coloured dice where you move wooden snails very, very, very slowly along a board) for hours on end on a Saturday afternoon! Granny loved us simply because we were her grandchildren. We didn’t have to be anything special – particularly clever, pretty or accomplished – for her to care about us and play with us. I feel very grateful to her for showing me what love can really look like in this way: quiet, gentle, unconditional, uncomplicated and full of care. It might not be the stuff of great, dramatic novels but in our real lives it’s the most valuable thing of all.
Author - Karis Lacroix
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