Yes, I know it isn’t Valentine’s yet. That’s the point.
Why do we sometimes wait until that one day to fully express our love? It is the everyday gestures that really matter. A note you leave in your husband’s suitcase before he leaves on a work trip, so he finds it once he unpacks. Your girlfriend bringing you your coffee just the way you like it — a touch of cream and just under a teaspoon of sugar — without you even having to ask. A bubble bath with candles waiting for you after a long day of shuttling the kids around.
Diving into this investigation of my grandfather’s life — there have been so many unexpected discoveries. Finding the charming little notes he used to leave for my grandmother Mary and his third wife, Molly. Handwritten small notes like, “Welcome home!! To my beloved wife.” … “Happy birthday to my dear wife Molly from her loving, sleepy husband, Norman”. Pop even painted a “hidden” love note to Molly in the Ruby Bridges painting, The Problem We All Live With. If you look carefully, under one of the marshal’s hands is a small roughly drawn heart on the wall with MP + NR. It’s easy to miss it. NR must have wanted something loving on the wall to counterbalance the painful racial epithets that are also displayed there.
It is through small daily gestures that we feel truly loved. Do we really need a special meal and flowers on February 14th, when everything is double-priced and there is so much pressure on everyone to “perform” their love?
I recently came upon this painting of my grandfather’s that really touched me. Another one that I hadn’t seen before. It’s an April 1928 cover for Ladies’ Home Journal called On Top of the World (Young Couple Seated on Globe). The blue water encompassing the globe is reflected in the expansive blue sky surrounding the two young lovers. Her attitude seems slightly guarded, yet submissive. He, too, is cautious, but quietly beseeching with earnest affection.
The world is open to them. His stance is mirrored in the angle of the wispy, unthreatening clouds. She tilts toward him; her axis is pointed his way. The playful, slightly cheeky arrow points north up her stocking. Is he her North? Their romance is safe, protected and promising. His hand folds over hers, gently sheltering it. Just as the continents below them are connected, so are the two young lovers.
Celebrate your love every day. Even in the midst of a fight — remember, take a moment to acknowledge your Beloved.
Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now