I remember the glory days of romantic comedies. Even before we decided whether we were Carries, Mirandas, Samanthas, or Charlottes, we figured out which Julia Roberts movie we were (back then I was Runaway Bride, but I wanted to be Notting Hill).
Aside: I’ve got a hunch romantic comedies will be making a comeback. The world is ripe. And everyone loves a comeback.
Watching romantic comedies helped me figure out what I wanted love to look like in my life. As my thoughts turned to love, they trotted off to marriage, and eventually cantered to having babies. Unsurprisingly, I also turned to pop culture when I ruminated on what I might be like as a mother (I was hoping for the perfect combination of clever and genuine, as found in Lorelai Gilmore).
Thankfully, once I did have kids, I didn’t have to rely totally on television for inspiration. My own mother is the best of role models. Do you know that every time I talk to her she greets me with an enthusiastic, “Annette! How are you?” It’s true. Even when I’ve spoken to her twice on the phone and had dinner with her all in the same day. I could call her up on her drive home and she’d still answer as though I’m exactly who she wants to hear from. If I thank her for her enthusiasm, she’ll respond with something like, “Of course I want to hear from you! I always want to hear from you!” I try to remember that when my own darling offspring say, “Mom?” for the eleventy billionth time in a single hour.
Being loved is a pretty great feeling, isn’t it? MLC and I always say, “I love you, goodbye” to each other before we hang up the phone. My kids leave me cards on my pillow with hearts on them. They give me so many reasons to love them.
Loving people because is easy. I love you because you’re sweet. I love you because you’re funny and smart. I love you because you love me and we have an inside joke about geese and ganders.
Loving people in spite of can be trickier. I love you in spite of your tendency to rearrange the dishwasher after I’ve loaded it. I love you in spite of your eye-wateringly robust morning breath. I love you in spite of that argument we just had over who had a more difficult day.
Loving people through is even harder still. I love you through your colicky phase. I love you through this meltdown. I love you through my own anger.
Let’s face it: loving people in general is natural and yet it is not for the faint of heart. Even so, loving MLC and my kids because, in spite of, and through has been like leveling up as a human. It fills me up. It makes me whole. And I am so happy I get to do it every single day.