Lessons in Love: A tribute at Valentine’s

With Valentine’s Day this week, there is a lot of emphasis on being in love; I would like to share what true love means to me.
I was an observer, an outsider, to the secrets of love. I watched as daily kisses and hugs were exchanged and tender embraces were given. I watched as coffee was poured and icy car windows were scraped off to make someone else’s morning run smoothly. I heard the laughter over a new experience enhanced by the past they shared together.  I watched as baths were run and phone calls were answered just to say hello.
It was not only the happy times that taught me about romance; it was also the arguments, which left someone sitting coolly quiet, and the stares that meant someone had done something unacceptable to the other. There were the irritations of nights of listening to snoring or extended time playing Scrabble on the computer.
These were as much in abundance as the kind words of encouragement to find a new job, to overcome illness, and to make it through another difficult day of winter driving. I watched as obstacles were tackled and resolutions found.
I did not learn about love watching romantic movies where passion leads the path to happiness; I watched real life from the comfort of my own home. I watched the mutual respect that my parents had for one another. Love did not mean that feelings were never hurt and anger never arose. It was simple: there were two people who had learned to put someone ahead of him- or herself. That meant that someone was always looking out for them and their best interests. 
I was fortunate enough to find a man who shares similar love lessons. We have molded our marriage around what we have been taught and a shared sense of camaraderie.
Love is perfect! People are not. Every day we need to make a decision to create love, to live putting someone ahead of ourselves with the knowledge that someone has put us ahead of them. Happiness will always follow love.
Thank you to my teachers of love, Mom and Dad, and to my amazing husband Jamie, who continues to make me want to strive to make him as happy as he makes me.
Joanne (Morgan) Smith