“Find someone who loves you more.”
My grandmother was a wise woman. Goofy wise; most of her wisdom came hidden in a blunder, the kind you would laugh with (and at) at first and then, looking back, you would realize the depth of what was being said. She wasn’t one of those old grannies, the ones the years weren’t all that kind to. She was young, “cool”, unconventional, the kind of grandma you could sit down and talk about anything with, without feeling that she didn’t understand, as if there was no generation gap, the one that would spike your ice cream soda, the kind that would bum a smoke when grandpa wasn’t around. The one that would truly support anything you did, advise you to chase your dreams and point out all the things that make you special, even when you felt you were anything but.
I had taken a few days off, away from everything, to go see her. And though I adored my grandfather, as I grew older, I found that it was with her I needed to spend time. I needed her goofy wisdom, I needed the perfect things she always said – as if she knew exactly what to say about eveything and anything to make me feel that it was okay to be just a little crazy. Because crazy is different, and different is unique. And according to her I was born to be one of a kind. More though because she got it; she got me, every gaze, every silence. She read every need, every desire, every little thing I managed to keep hidden away from everyone else, even just in the tone of my voice.
We were currently discussing a shipwreck relationship. I stared at her, holding a hot cup of coffee between my hands. I look nothing like her but, if nothing else, that was one thing we shared; the love for strong hot coffee all year round and a cigarette to go with it. Though mid-August the only warm thing I could feel was that mug. I tried not to cry, I struggled to convince her that “he’s a good guy” and that I truly was happy with him -even though I spent more time without him than actually with him- but she was Grams. She knew. She knew I was full of shit and not even I believed a word of those I kept repeating. No one understood Virginia’s firstborn quite like Virginia’s firstborn, and hard as I tried to bend the truth to my -or rather his– advantage, she didn’t buy it. I wasn’t happy but I would be damned if I would have admitted it to anyone. I didn’t have to tell her; she knew just looking at me.
“You deserve better. Find someone who loves you more.” was all she repeated.
What is that “better” I deserve? Who am I and why should I deserve more? And what does “more” mean? None of it fit in my mind. I just figured it was grandmotherly love that made her say it. And so I never really put much stock into it. I couldn’t quite figure out how I would be able to tell if someone actually loved me more or if I could ever be with someone I didn’t really love. I mean, can such a complex thing as love be measurable? Isn’t it, by definition, immesurable and subjective? Isn’t it supposed to be vast and unconditional when it’s real? And if so how can I apply the condition “I’ll love you if you love me more”? There is no quantifiable depth, girth, volume, amount or length to emotions. So how could I measure my own for a person so as to compare it to what they had for me?
What I didn’t realize was the true meaning behind her words, behind her insistance, behind the frown she wore as she watched me trying to keep my gaze from meeting hers. It was during that conversation that Grams saw one thing clearly: I wanted him more. I cared for him more, I put him above myself in everything, at every turn. Even that vacation was planned around his schedule; or rather the potential of him wanting to spend his vacation with me. The answer that made all my questions obsolete was the one part of the phrase she didn’t add at the end.
Years later, I finally get it. She never said to find someone that I didn’t love. “You deserve better. Find someone who loves you more.” Not more than I loved them; more than they loved themselves. She wanted what any grandma would want for her kids: Someone who would put me first for a change, where even I didn’t put myself first. Someone who would put my desires above their own agenda, even if it was something I would never ask for. Find someone that cared for me; and showed it. I can fill in the blanks with what she meant to say, what could have been read between the lines. And that little piece of wisdom is something that shouldn’t stop at me.
Find someone who loves you more.
Someone who wants you more, who appreciates the gift they have been given.
Find someone who doesn’t leave you hanging, in the dark and drowning in uncertainty, wondering what they feel for you – or if they feel anything at all for you. Someone who you won’t have to excuse and for whom you won’t have to bend the truth. Someone you could be proud to tell your own grandma about and eventually introduce them to her. Who will treat you in a way that would not make her worry about you. And when you find that person, bless your lucky stars, appreciate them and don’t let them leave. Unconditional and immesurable love is not an easy thing to find.
Grams was truly a wise woman and, in her own way, she made the world a little better for everyone. Even if it’s just me who listened to her advice. I’m sure she’s laughing at me for being so smart and so stupid at the same time, hot mug of coffee in her hand, a cigarette in the other, reading over my shoulder as I write her words and send them out to be read by the world. Because she was right – she was always right.
It’s a shame that she didn’t get to meet him after all. Then again, I’m sure she had a hand in that little “coincidence”.