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My younger daughter’s boyfriend moved in with us on July 30th, the day after we moved into our new place.  I’d met him before, briefly, back in our old town when they first started dating and my vague first impression was that he was quiet and shy.  Those have turned out to be true, he is quiet and a bit shy for sure, but getting to know him has been quite a treat!

This young man, he’s 20 and I believe just 3 months or so younger than my daughter (which she teases him about) is one of the finest examples of a man I’ve seen in a long time.  Denny is such a good man and takes such amazing care of my daughter, even when he’s physically in pain (he was in a bad car accident and is almost always in pain) that my mind is blown, here are some examples:

The week before he moved in he friended me on Facebook – after asking my daughter’s permission and if she thought it would be “weird” if he asked to be my friend.  Then he made arrangements with me to come up earlier than he told her so that he could surprise her.

He asked my permission to bring his gun into the house.  Oh please, bring your gun, this is Montana!

He offers to help carry things if I even look like I might need help and he just takes things from my daughter and helps her.

He jumped right in to help my dad kills wasps and try to find the nest and offered to carry things for my mom.

He picks everyone’s dishes up and takes them to the sink – he also does dishes without being asked!

He cooks and very patiently instructs my daughter (who is cooking-impaired) on how to do even the simplest things – like bake the garlic french bread you get pre-made from the store in the foil bags… and applauded her when it came out perfect.

My daughter’s license is suspended from an unpaid ticket and he drives her to and from work, even when he just comes home and goes back to bed in the mornings.

He got a job the third day he was here and even though it was too physically demanding for his body after the car accident he continued going to work until they caught him throwing up from the pain and sent him home.  He has continued to find different jobs to do and does them whole-heartedly despite being in so much pain that nobody can touch his back when he gets home.

He asked if we knew how hard it was to “stay smiley” when it hurt so bad while my daughter was rubbing his back.  We said he didn’t have to, we knew he was hurting and it was OK not to smile and try to be happy.  His response?  “It’s easier on her this way.”  I wanted to cry…

My daughter offered to let him sleep alone in the bed since he was hurting so bad (they were sharing a twin bed at the time).  He smiled, pulled her close and said, “No, I wouldn’t be able to sleep without you.”  And just a FYI – the dog likes to sleep with them too…

He gave ME money out of his first paycheck on top of putting gas in my daughter’s truck.  I tried to refuse but he wasn’t having it.  None of her boyfriends, even the other one who lived with us, ever tried to give me money to help out.

My daughter came home grumpy and he sent her to go take a nap.  He then woke her up two hours later so that she would be able to sleep that night.

He refuses to dish himself up food until after both she and I have served ourselves.

I asked him if she takes as good of care of him as he does of her and he said “No.  She tries.  She’s irritating sometimes but I love her.”  I thanked him for being honest and said I was proud of him, that he’s a good man.  He says “I try”.  I told him that he has succeeded.  I hope he believes that someday soon.

The mountain across the highway from our new place looked like there was smoke coming from behind it.  He prepared to pack up a suitcase for my daughter and evacuate with her dog.  (She and I were at work in the small town nearby).  He and I contacted each other and made plans of which town to go to if they can go north and where to meet if they can only go south and where to be if they can’t go very far at all.  The smoke went away but he said if it came back at all he would get her out of there and was prepared to tell her that she could only take what fits into the suitcase, lol.

He made spaghetti with olives and mushrooms in the sauce for dinner one night.  By the time I got home there weren’t any olives in the sauce (so I didn’t know he had even put them in there) but there were plenty of mushrooms and I love mushrooms!  The next day I had leftover spaghetti at school and found a can of olives that I put in (cold) after I had heated the noodles and sauce.  I posted on Facebook that I realized I like cold olives on top of hot food and not cooked into the food.  When I get home that day he had read my post and apologizes for putting olives in the sauce!  Dear, sweet boy!  That wasn’t the reason I posted that…

He has 5 ulcers and threw up outside the back door one day after dinner, couldn’t keep anything down.  He comes back in and apologizes that we “had to hear that”.

My daughter hasn’t had dental insurance for a while and her teeth are hurting.  She couldn’t sleep one night (it was the first night the had a queen bed) so she went out to the living room and watched a movie.  He woke up and she wasn’t there so he went out and fell asleep with her on the couch.

He tells her no when they can’t afford to do something without being mean about it and he says yes whenever something is possible.  He gives up food, drink, cigarettes and his own clothing for her, anything she wants or needs he denies himself and gives it to her.  He puts her ahead of himself all the time.  He is gentle in everything he says and does.

He is affectionate towards her in public without being lustful or possessive.  I don’t know if I’m describing that right but those are the best words I can come up with.  He hugs her, he kisses her, he holds her hand and pulls her close, he constantly watches her with a little smile on his lips… and I never feel like he’s just waiting for me not to be around so he can pull her into bed.  He loves her.  He really LOVES her.

This young man constantly amazes me.  I’ve never seen anything like their relationship.  My daughter joked once and said he wanted my blessing for them to be together.  I gave it wholeheartedly, but thinking – very quietly – to myself that she might find herself a little harder pressed to get my blessing to be with him…

He loves her just a tad more than she loves him, he deserves better than my daughter but he loves her with every fiber of his being.  He gave up everything from his life back in our old town to move to another state and be with her.

If there’s a man like that out there for me, then I want to try and find him.

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I just realized, I don’t fantasize about having sex with anybody, lol. When I daydream it’s about being held. 

What I long for, ever so wistfully, is to feel safe inside a strong pair of arms. To spoon and be warmed by a man who smells like a wilderness adventure, rugged and wild. I wish for a bottomless pair of eyes to stare into and find myself reflected in their depths just as he finds himself in mine. 

This is my fantasy. To be utterly and completely safe with someone who loves me just the way I am. 

My sister and I just finished watching “This Means War” with Chris Pine, Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon and if I had been her I would have totally chosen Tom Hardy’s character instead of Chris Pine’s character.  Last night my sister and I watched “Failure to Launch” and this whole last week or so has been full of movies that have happy, romantic endings.  No, we don’t have much else to do in this teeny, tiny apartment except watch movies all night…

I realized while watching these movies that I’ve never been “swept off my feet, head-over-heels in love”, except once in high school.  He was a senior and I was a junior and my mom told me I couldn’t date until after I graduated high so I told him I couldn’t go out with him.  That’s one thing I would change if I had my life to live over again.  Then again, he promptly stopped paying any attention to me and started dating a freshman so even though it seemed like true love at the time for me it obviously wasn’t true love for him.  Last I heard he had just gotten married to his second wife. 

I know some of my friends have found their one true love and while I’m happy for each of them I tend to view their relationship with their spouses as more of a fluke of nature than any sort of attainable goal.  Therefore, “happily ever after” movies make me suspcious of the hero and a little part of my heart is always screaming at the girl who’s swept off her feet “Don’t Do It!  It won’t last!  It’s not worth it!” 

I have great angst, I think I need a Xanax…  or two…  Stupid movies…

I really, really, really enjoyed the conversation I had with my husband at the resturant last week.  If he would just be that guy all the time there would be some serious potential for our relationship.  Because of his humble attitude and the things he said to me – not romantic things but honest things – I actually gave him my sister’s address where I am staying on the condition that he would not come to the door without an express invitation.  Now I kind of wish I hadn’t, I’m wondering if I can really trust him not to bang on the apartment door if he thinks we really need to talk.  I’m hoping he stays that guy he was at the resturant and that I can trust him but I’m honestly expecting that he’ll only stay “nice” for another few weeks and then go back to being that angry, wounded, selfish guy I’ve always known. 

Enough of me yearns for a relationship like I see in the movies to keep watching them and torturing myself with what I will probably never have in this lifetime.  The rest of me is so distrustful of men… I just don’t think it will ever happen.

Ever.

My family has been working our way through the first season of the TV series, Once Upon A Time, which is more or less about fairy tale characters living in the real world not knowing they are fairy tale characters and it winds it way back and forth between the fairy tales (with many very interesting twists) and their modern-day lives in a tiny town “somewhere” in Maine.  The focus of the series seems to be on finding your “True Love”.  The characters say things like “True Love’s Kiss can break any curse” and “Nothing is more powerful than True Love’s Kiss”.  Fairy tales are intertwined making various characters the main role in multiple stories (Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are the same person in this series as are Rumplestiltskin and The Beast, etc.)  Aside from the first two episodes this show is very family friendly (it’s a bit gory in the beginning) and has plenty of action/adventure scenes to please boys and men and family-appropriate romance for the female heart.  Once Upon A Time is well done and has fascinating twists and turns and it’s really made me think about True Love.

I’m watching an episode with my husband and it’s where the Snow White character and the Prince Charming character are falling in love in the real world, with no memories of their fairy tale life and love, photos of them together were taken and shown to Prince Charming’s real-life “wife” (they weren’t really married but it’s complicated so let’s just skip to the point…) and she looks at the pictures and asks another character “Have you ever been in love? Because I’m beginning to realize that I haven’t.  The way he looks at her and she looks at him, that’s True Love and I’ve never had that…”  So my husband looks at me and asks “Are we In Love?”       Really Awkward Moment!       I tell him yes we are but we’re still working on the mushy-gooshy part of it, which is true.  He is content with my answer but his question inspired me to investigate “True Love” a little bit more.

Dictionary.com defines “Love” as:  1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.  2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.  3. sexual passion or desire.  4.  a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.  5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?

Given these definitions I should have “feelings” for my husband and children (or anybody) to qualify me as “loving” them.  I think my feeler is broke but does that really mean I don’t love them?  As Stephanie pointed out in her comment on an earlier post (“Do You Miss Me”), and I’m going to summarize what she said here, I do lots of stuff for my family, including sacrificing my own wants and desires to meet theirs – so my actions say I love them even if my feelings don’t.

The Bible says in I Corinthians 13:4 – 8:  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

This definition of love is all action.  Love Does Stuff for the one(s) it loves.  Feelings don’t really even enter into the picture here, whereas in the dictionary definition you pretty much have feelings only.  Hmmm…  I definitely have one but not so much the other…  I’d like to have passion and affection in my family relationships.  And just to clarify – I want passion to and from my husband and affection to and from my kids and other family members and even friends.  I don’t want to run for public office in the future and have some weirdo out there misquoting my blog…  I will continue my actions of love towards others but what I really want at this point is feelings to and from other people.  I want to feel again.  I’d like to have passion for my husband.  I wouldn’t mind having passion for my art and my music again either.  I want my feeler fixed but that’s probably another blog.

So which one is True Love?  I think Hollywood places too much emphasis on the feelings part of Love and not enough (or hardly any emphasis at all) on the actions of Love and that one little re-definition has destroyed more relationships and marriages than could possibly be counted, in my humble opinion.  Gazing deeply into each other’s eyes and giving way to rising hormones is only creating feelings which come and go based on your circumstances.  The pursuit of “True Love” is really just like my dog chasing the red laser beam light.  He can’t ever catch it but it flashes over him in quick bursts.  Feelings, like a wild animal, cannot be caged and contained.  The whole point of a reading a romance novel is to experience the feelings of the heroine when her suitor finally captures her heart.  When the book is over the feelings fade and you need to read another one, and then another one…  That is not True Love.

The Bible also says:  Perfect Love casts out Fear  (I John 4:18) and Love covers a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8).  So add that to being patient, kind, not envious, not proud or boastful, honoring to others, not self-centered, hard to make angry, doesn’t hold grudges, happy with the truth, protecting, trusting, hoping, perserving and never failing and I think this is what I want to be my True Love.  How about you?