As a young girl, you romanticized love. You pulled the curtain panel over your hair and pretended it was a wedding veil and practiced walking down the aisle. When you pictured your groom standing before you it was in a church, in front a few hundred people waiting to see you seal your love with vows and a ring by a minister of a religion you didn’t even believe in. When you looked at the groom in front of you, you liked to believe that his eyes were misty from how honored and disillusioned he was that you were standing before him saying you wanted to be with him in sickness and health, for better or worse….FOREVER.
As a young girl, you romanticized parenting; you stuffed a balloon under your shirt and pretended you could feel what it would be like to carry a baby and you treated your dolls like you thought children would be cared for. You brushed their hair and changed their diapers and took them with you everywhere you went pretending to be a perfectly doting mother. Oddly the baby never made a peep. You always visualized a happy family made up of a husband and wife and a child.
As an adult, the romanticism fades a bit and you realize that you definitely want the children but you want to feel them grow inside of you. You want to push them on the swings, cuddle them, bathe them, rock them and sing them to sleep. You want to hold their little hands, splash in puddles, teach them to swim, wipe their tears and kiss scraped knees. You want to watch them grow up and see who they become. You want the real thing.
You still want the partner but you aren’t as sure that the wedding is required. You want the love and the companionship and the loyalty but you aren’t even sure you can recognize the right partner after the ones you thought were right before turned out to be so very, very wrong. You look back and don’t want to believe that the love you waited to love could grow for people who didn’t want to receive it. But you didn’t have a choice. We don’t choose who deserves our feelings or where to plant them or when to grow them or when to pull at the dead, dry weeds. Love chooses.
Romanticism may not have a place in adulthood. Adulthood is a time of logic with snippets of awe and heartache mixed in. Love doesn’t always equal marriage or partnership. Babies don’t always equal marriage or partnership. Love can exist all on its own and it can be beautiful or it can tear a hole in you that you fear will leave you a little bit damaged forever. But it is real; the love of a child or the love of a person is very real.
Love is not a fairy tale. Love may not always be romantic or healthy because love is real. Love exists. Love permeates everything. Love makes you come alive – romantic or not.