Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, or more importantly, my mother's birthday. She'll be 48, following on from my father's 50th birthday eleven days previous. Tomorrow will also be a day where Hallmark tell us that love is expensive presents, red roses, fancy arse meals and copious degrees of wine.
My parents' relationship has taught me a lot about love, and it's the source from which I ultimately draw my definition thereof. My parents married when my mother was 19 and my father 21. They went on to establish their own business, have two children and achieve financial and emotional stability. The picture ain't always rosy, and they row a helluva lot, but I think if you're not fighting, then you're doing something wrong.
Lovers tear the heads off one another because they care. No relationship can exist solely on smooches and adoring coos. Conflict presents challenges, find faults, but most importantly, rectifies failings. It's the sealant that fixes the cracks in the walls before the whole house comes tumbling down. Admittedly, in a lot of relationships, conflict can take on all too central a role and bring about their demise. But I firmly believe that it's an entirely natural, nay, necessary element of any pairing.
That's what I admire most about my parents. No matter how they interact or speak to one another, it's unquestionable that they love each other unconditionably. I'm lucky to have grown up with such stability, and it's something I've taken for granted.
Mam, Dad. I love ye. Keep it up.