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Friday, September 4, 2015

[Love Looks Like] Junk Mail and Zucchini Bread

Here's a favorite from the archives: An essay I wrote about a family visit a couple summers ago.

I read a blog where the writer has a series called “Love Looks Like.” She writes about her husband of fourteen years and the marriage they have built together. The writing is beautiful; the essays speak of tired and tender moments, the sacrifices they have made for each other, and the memories that keep them warm. They are college sweethearts enjoying the middle years of their marriage. Each post ends with the short explanation, “I write now and then about what love looks like for us.”

Tonight I read another one and thought, “What does love look like for me?”

I've been single my whole life.  So what does love look like for me? Love does not look like:
  • Flowers at work on my birthday
  • Online countdowns to my upcoming wedding, anniversary, or baby
  • Flipping through old photo albums of my budding romance
  • Planning my future with someone
  • Building a family
Right now, love doesn’t look like any of the things I see in those wonderful blog essays. Yet, it seems that in spite of my current solidly single status, God had not intended me to live a solidly loveless life. Thank goodness.

This weekend my parents came down for a visit. The first thing my mom handed me when she got out of the car was a Tupperware of potato salad. No explanation was needed; Mom just likes to feed her kids. The salad was followed with a loaf of zucchini bread and an apology for forgetting to bring a few bags of frozen sweet corn.

They stayed the night, with my parents sleeping in my bedroom on my cheap (and only) set of sheets while I bunked on the couch. The next day we went downtown to the farmer’s market to carry out our mission of getting fresh flowers for my sister. The big event of the weekend was my sister’s “white coat” ceremony, which, in terms of length and excitement, reminded me of my college graduation years ago: badly pronounced names droning on as a steady stream of students walked smartly across the stage.

We went out to eat and then returned to the rental house I share with several friends. My dad had brought a rubber mallet to help me install some new hubcaps he helped me buy online. Mine keep falling off, even though I’m certain I haven’t driven into anything! He crouched beside my car in the 95-degree heat, moving a little slower than usual because of a few broken ribs that were still healing, and he helped me put on four new hubcaps.

Just before my parents left, my mom handed me a plastic bag filled with mass mailings addressed to me. I still get mail at my parents’ house even though it’s been over a decade since I lived there. My mom either stacks it on my dresser for when I come home or brings it to me if she sees me in between my visits. It was really nice to have an address to use for all my mail during a few years I lived overseas, which is probably why I yet haven’t gone to any great effort to get things re-directed to where I live now.

Tonight I’m thinking that love looks like a bag of junk mail and a loaf of zucchini bread sitting on my kitchen table at this very moment. (I’ve already eaten half the bread.)

Love looks like having a permanent address, even though I haven’t had a permanent home since I graduated from high school.

Love looks like my dad carefully tapping my plastic hubcap into place while my mom pulls the next one out of its sleeve and we all stop to wipe off the sweat condensing on our temples.

Love looks like sitting through a two-hour long ceremony so my sister has a white coat and family support for embarking on two years of physician assistant school.

Love looks like me getting a mediocre night’s sleep on my couch so my parents could have a mediocre night’s sleep on my bed, and it looks like the overly gracious “Thank you for you hospitality” e-mail that just appeared in my inbox from my mom.

It's  Singleness Week on the blog!  Find the whole collection here.

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