Wednesday, December 11, 2013

four ways you know you love someone

If you have siblings (or a family at all), you know how it feels to have particular characteristics permanently slapped on you.

For example, maybe when you were five you had a really unhealthy obsession with tinker toys.  Until the day you die, your grandma will always refer to you as the engineer of the family, ignoring all evidence to the contrary (you only think you majored in 15th Century French Poetry).

Me, I am the stubborn, no-nonsense, crying-is-for-babies competitor. (I think it stems back to the first time I played Uno, which I'm told was the most violent first game of Uno in the rich history of the game of Uno.  I think I was four.)

Whereas my brother is the math prodigy and my sister is the free spirit whom everyone loves, I am a competitive workaholic who shows no emotion and takes no prisoners.  That being said, you can imagine how shocking this sappy post is going to seem to Grandma.

When I was in middle school, I thought loving someone meant that you wrote it in your AIM profile.

Turns out that's wrong.  For example, I love Derrick.  Obsessed with the guy, really.  And I haven't been known as "bahamablonde22" since 2003.

So what is love?  Based on my experience, this is what I've found:

After a long day, I sometimes convince myself that leaving the couch is physically impossible.  Actually, that bodily movement in general is just too demanding.  On more than one occasion, Derrick has told me to "quit slime-ing around."

(Slime-ing, for those of you who don't know, is when you're trying to leave the couch with complete muscle disengagement.  The result is slow, fluid slide onto the floor, aka "slime-ing".)

Love is when you pick up your slime-ing girlfriend and carry her to the bathroom so that she can brush her teeth.  Derrick is often at work for 12 hours a day, yet he still finds the energy for the labors of love, literally carrying my burden all the way to the bathroom when I'm too tired.

I realized this one after I gave Derrick his third Hershey's bar in a week.  Maybe it's because he's on my mind a lot, maybe making him happy makes me happy, maybe I have an impulsive spending problem. Whatever the reason, it seems I can't leave a CVS without bearing gifts.

It's a weird habit of love I should probably learn to control.  But at least now I understand why I get bi-weekly packages of sunflower seeds and socks from my grandma.

First, get your mind out of the gutter because I'm sure it's there.  All I mean is that when you love someone, you fight fair.

A healthy relationship is always going to include some fighting (that's what told me, anyway).  But when you love someone, the fights stay limited (mostly) to the situation.  A fight about someone being late to dinner doesn't turn into "you're never on time" and especially doesn't somehow turn into a fight about that time five years ago when he called your dog fat.

Loving someone means that fights stay on topic and don't involve name calling.  And not just because you read it in the relationship section of Cosmopolitan; it's because you genuinely don't want to hurt the person you love, no matter how much you currently don't like them.

The normal response to seeing someone sad is sympathy.  Maybe even kinds words, a card from Walgreens, or a pat on the back.

But when you love someone, seeing that person sad makes you want to curl up and cry.  Just like seeing that person hurt makes you want to knock someone's lights out.

Basically, love means that someone else's happiness becomes necessary for yours.

And that's that!  Excuse all the mush.  I guess I'm just feeling extra sappy this week because my best friend just got engaged this weekend!  Seriously, could not be more excited for Erika and Jake.

Wishing you guys a long life  filled with love, happiness, and unnecessary chocolate bars from CVS!

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