Hearing the words “I love you” from the mouth of my child is one of the best things in the world. It’s beautiful. Admittedly the first time she said it was to cheese and therefore didn’t have quite the same emotionally significant impact as it might do, but still. The realisation is there that “love” is something to be applied to the special things in life… and Miss Rose does love cheese.
When I was a little girl, not that much older than Miss Rose, I told my Uncle Simon that I loved him. “I love you, Uncle Simon” I said, looking up at him, holding his hand. Being something of a cynic, my uncle looked down at me and said “You don’t know the meaning of the word.”
The meaning of the word “love”.
I love Miss Rose. I love her in a way that is complete and true and deep and almost painful. It isn’t a love I can articulate. She is part of me. Her pain is my pain, her joy is my joy. My love for her is not a love I have any experience of at any other time in my life, it is primal. It is heavy and solid, a love that runs thick with fear.
I love my mother. My mum is a beautiful soul, she is my inspiration and my best friend and I love her hugely. It is a different love to that I have for Miss Rose but it’s real none the less. My mother is someone I love on a biological level and, I assume, the way Miss Rose loves me.
I love The Boy. I loved men before him, and if we were to ever break up, I assume I would love men after him. My love for him is different again. It is deep and it is real, but it doesn’t carry the pain and weight of my love for Miss Rose, nor the history and biological instinct of my love for my mother. It is a romantic love, a sexual love, and a lifetime of hope love.
I love my best friend. Aimee is someone I grew up with, care about, enjoy the company of, go to for advice, go to for fun, and think of as my second family. It is love that isn’t heavy or painful, it isn’t biological and it isn’t romantic, but it’s love. Definite love.
I love chocolate, and much as Miss Rose loves cheese (and she really does love cheese), it is a love of something purely for the superficial pleasure. But, as far as food goes, it sure is love.
When Miss Rose says “I love you cheese”, “I love you mummy”, “I love you Nanny” these are love and they are definitely real, but does she understand? And, considering I attribute so many different kinds of love to so many different kinds of things, do I even understand?
I don’t understand. I don’t understand why I can call something “love” when it feels so different with everything I apply it to yet use the same word. I don’t understand how love comes from nowhere, such as with The Boy whom I didn’t even know existed for much of my life and yet now love more than any other man I’ve ever known. I don’t know how love disappears, such as with the Ex-Husband who I loved enough to marry and yet now have a grumbling acceptance of.
“You don’t know the meaning of the word” said to a four year old me, and yet twenty-nine year old me is really none the wiser. Will I ever understand? Will Miss Rose?
I love you. It really is a lovely thing to hear… whether said to cheese or anything else.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!