You Better Recognize! 16

I’ve waited for someone to say the words, “I love you” at various times in my life.  Sometimes when I waited, it was because I knew deep down inside that the person didn’t love me but I wasn’t ready to admit it to myself.  Other times, I haven’t felt a need to hear the words, because I felt loved and there was no need to have it said.

I’ve known people who say the words “I love you” frequently but don’t demonstrate the,  I’ve even had two people with whom I was romantically involved, tell me that they loved me as they were on their way out of my life.  One I knew was moving to a new city and entertained a stubborn hope that our relationship would survive the distance. The other knew that he wasn’t ever going to see me again.  He left his “I love you” as a postcard promising a future that was never to be.  I was finally able to appreciate the ultimate respect he demonstrated by taking himself out of my life.  It hurt like hell at the time though.

But let’s not rehash loves lost.

It occurred to me that I have missed demonstrations of love several times in my life because I kept waiting on the words.  I won’t deny how very lovely it is to hear someone you love say, “I love you.”  I will say that love can be shown, without words of love ever being uttered.  No wonder the phrase, “actions speak louder than words,” entered the lexicon.

Growing up, my mother wasn’t demonstrative in terms of words.  She did lots of things to indicate her deep love and understanding of me and my needs that I didn’t appreciate at the time.  We often don’t appreciate our parents until we grow up and realize that not everybody’s parents loves them in the ways we’ve been loved.  One thing she did stands out. 

Mom took me to get my hair cut into an afro before I went to college.  Now this was a big deal at the time.  I was known for my hair and, in our neighborhood in St. Louis, hell in my culture, long hair was valued.  She wanted me to fit in with the times and so, she took me to a salon and sat with me while I got my hair cut.  It was the summer before I was going away to college.  To use a phrase from today, “She wasn’t feeling me getting my hair cut,” but she knew I wanted to and she loved me enough to support my doing it.

My first husband surprised me one Thanksgiving morning with an antique china cabinet that he had refinished.  He had hidden it in the basement and refinished it over a few months.  He knew I liked antiques, he knew I wanted a china cabinet, and he made it happen. It now sits proudly in our daughter’s home – this physical symbol of love in action.

My forever husband, T, designed my website, set up this blog, scans photos, looks up domains names, and recovers lost documents.  He demonstrates his love by being my tech guru, answering all my IT questions, and handling all such requests in a timely manner.  Oh – and he also says, “I love you,” on a regular basis.  I have the best of both worlds – actions and expressions of love.  I felt his love before he ever told me and had grown enough that I could see love as it was being given, before it was ever said.

Recognizing love in all the ways it is given and not if it’s been said, is important to do.  Who’s shown you love recently?  You better recognize.

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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