Love lessons from my grandmother
My grandma was quite a beauty back in the 50s. With her dark long hair and vivid brown eyes she never had a lack of admirers. Oh, she’d seen them all – the popular guys who everybody wanted to date, the shy guys who never plucked up enough courage to ask her out; and then there was one special guy – my grandad.
The tied the knot in 1953 and stayed together until my grandad died in 1991. For 38 years they had a perfect marriage, built on love and respect. They never once argued or shouted at each other.
My grandma never met anyone else. She devoted the rest of her life to her children and grandchildren. She never moved out of the house either; the house where she spent many happy years with her man.
‘How did you know grandad was the one?’ – I asked her once. ‘It was simple’ – she said. ‘A lot of guys wanted to date me but your granddad did something special. There was a severe winter one year and I didn’t have a winter coat because I couldn’t afford it. When your grandad found out, he broke into his savings and bought me one. We got married that year.’ She smiled and her eyes lit up at the memory.
That story prompted me to revisit my own dating history. Just like my grandma I’ve seen them all - there was the poet, the guy who couldn’t spell, the very tall guy, the playboy, the stalker and finally there was the guy I married. We divorced five years later.
I couldn’t help but wonder, if it was a coat in the 50s, what is the 21st century equivalent? In the world of strong independent women, what does it take to wrap it up?
The more I was thinking about my past dating mistakes, the more I realised how lucky my grandma was. She met the perfect guy who loved and cared for her till the death parted them. By the time she was 30 she had been married for five years and had two kids. At barely 30 I was freshly divorced with a bunch of unpaid credit cards.
Lost in the world of my past failures, I walked for what felt like hours. I got my phone out to check the time. And as I swiped it to life, a familiar face smiled at me from the screen. I remembered when I took that picture; and I smiled back at him.
Suddenly the past mistakes felt like last season’s outfit – discarded and forgotten. He man who was smiling at me from the screen brings tea to bed for me, buys me a train ticket when I go back to London and makes sure my sick dad has the best treatment available. He makes me feel like a little girl and a grown woman at the same time; he inspires and challenges me; and he is always there to catch me.
The longer I was looking at his face, the more I realised how lucky I was. I had the man who loved me and wanted to spend his life with me; the man who would shield me from the winter and would give me his own coat if needed.
It took me a very long time to find him - I tried many coats on. Until one day at a Christmas party he draped his coat around my shoulders. And just like that I got my wrap.