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Monday, March 9, 2015

An American Girl: In Love

When my Grandmother died, it fell upon my mother and I to sort through her things. She hadn't lived in the house in Indiana where my mother grew up for over 10 years, so there wasn't a lifetime to get through, merely family records, sentimental things, furniture and odds and ends she kept for no reason I can discern. How many blankets does one person need? I think she was preparing for the apocolypse. It actually ended up being a lot of fun to play her old records from the twenties and thirties and look through her tattered leather photo albums.

Pictures of her and her high school friends at the park having a picnic...... clearly my generation didn't invent "selfies".....

a vacation with her family.....


several pages of some extremely handsome young men in uniform. What!??????

I should clarify. There weren't several pages of several dozen guys. But pages here and there where you could tell she had some major crushes in her day, and good taste if I do say so myself. Who the heck were these guys? Did she date them or merely love from a far? I'll never know now. She never talked much about anyone other than my Grandfather and their marriage was an unhappy one, so what she did say was never very positive.

I do remember having a paper due in middle school where we had to interview our Grandparents. Being the cheeky 11 year-old I was, I asked her what her favorite drink was. She closed her eyes and said "oooohhh, I used to love a rum and coke!". Then she said "and the cutest boys where the ones who drove the tanks!"


This brings us to the next installment of of the series, An American Girl. I was thinking about her the other day and wishing she'd given me some advice about love, something I admittedly seem to be bad at. We all learn from our own experiences, but it would have been interesting to hear more about what she'd do the same, what she's do differently. Men and women are so different. We communicate differently, we process the information we receive in different ways and not mention the pounds and pounds of baggage we all bring to any relationship. In a nut shell, we need all the advice and help we can get.

So in her absence, I reached out to a couple friends, and also scoured my memory banks, for the best advice about love I've gotten from friends along the way. Here are some of my favorites.

  • Anyone who tells you love isn't hard is trying to sleep with you or sell you a bridge in Brooklyn.
  • We are lucky today. Everything is different for women. We don't have to stay in unhappy marriages or relationships. The bad part about that is that the second we aren't head-over-heels in love we think there's something wrong. I think men see it the same way. We're products of the time we live in, both good and bad.
  • I love being in love, I do it whenever I get the chance.
  • Just because love dies it doesn't mean we've failed. Divorce does not mean you've failed. That would mean being married means you've succeeded. Imagine picking a job and never being able to quit...or you've failed. Painting your living room the wrong color and not being able to change it...or you've failed. Saying yes to a first date and having to marry that person....or you've failed. Americans view love as competition rather than the free-flowing, kind thing it is. 
  • If you think that sexual chemistry doesn't matter in a relationship you're lying to yourself.
  • No one will treat you like you deserve unless you think you deserve it.
  • Make yourself happy, then you can share a life with someone.
  • I knew I was in love the first time he touched me. 
  • Pick your battles. 
  • Hearing your partner is easy, unless you have a hearing problem your ears will take care of the rest. Listening to your partner is what will make your relationship last. It requires attentiveness, empathy and a setting aside of your ego.
  • You and me and a bottle of wine. 

So here's to a glass of wine, falling in love and learning along the way......

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