Yesterday was my parents’ anniversary. Their 29th, if we’re numbering them. They seem to have had a full, happy almost three decades of marriage, but they still don’t have their spider killing procedure in place, so I’m not sure how much longer it’ll last. It’s nice to see my mom giggle at my dad’s antics even after all this time. It’s nice to see my dad still trying to make my mom giggle.
I didn’t always grow up thinking, “I’m so lucky,” but I’d like to believe I have always had a small sense of what I’ve been blessed with. My parents aren’t perfect, my family isn’t perfect, my childhood wasn’t perfect, and I’m not perfect by any means, but there are quite a few things God lined up perfectly.
Yesterday, my parents dropped me off at an Amtrak station in Indiana so I could ride back to Chicago. My boyfriend texted me the night before saying he would pick me up from Union Station.
“Text me when you’re a half hour away from your stop and I can walk you home.”
“You don’t need to do that. I don’t have my rolling suitcase so it’s going to be a heavy bag.”
“A perfect reason for me to meet you.”
“It’s fine lol. I can take a taxi.”
“Why won’t you let me help you?
“You don’t need to carry a heavy bag for however many miles it is. But thank you. I appreciate it.”
“What if I drive?”
Man. This kid is relentless. Who decided it was okay to date him?
“I know how much you hate traffic :)”
Insert smile emoji to ease tension. Works like a dream.
“It’s like 5 blocks away. Stop being stubborn and accept my love.”
How horrible to have a boyfriend that cares, right? My mom was none too happy when I told her Kent “might” be meeting me at the station. Sometimes motherly concern doesn’t fan out like a sweet-scented breeze, caressing everything it encounters with love. Sometimes it’s an MLB windup at 90mph that socks you in the gut. (And then you don’t even get to take first base. You’re just out for the count).
Between my mother and my boyfriend, my independence felt a bit stifled this morning. It wasn’t until I was on a train halfway between my hometown and my new town that I had the thought, How rare it is to be so fiercely loved. Traveling from one place to another, everyone involved wants to make the transition as smooth as possible, wants to stay with me as long as possible, or join me as soon as possible.
It makes me think back to earlier this year when my brother was driving me to an Iowa Amtrak station. (Apparently I don’t have family. I have chauffeurs). I had forgotten some important tax documents at my grandparents’ house. I told them it was no big deal, and they could mail it to my Chicago address.
But that’s not how my family does it.
Sean and I had no sooner arrived at the station and walked onto the platform than I saw two wide-eyed faces peering out from the station window. My doting grandparents. They had driven the hour from Missouri just to hand me a Ziplock baggie of tax info. Considering my grandpa’s affinity for trains, though, I’m not entirely convinced they didn’t just want to see a real live train pulling in and out of the station. Joking. I know I rank right up there with trains.
Love looks like a lot of different things, and sometimes it’s in the form of loved ones shoving you around a bit. Getting frustrated with you. Being persistent. Showing up at places you told them under no circumstances should they show up.
Guess what? All those things are okay. It’s okay to care about other people. And it’s okay to let other people care about you.
It’s not always easy to recognize love, but what a sweet surprise it is when you do.