Sunday, March 24, 2013

Luv u!

Simple words. Huge meaning. And whether it's 'luv u' via text or 'love you' by phone, it's the sign-off we use among my family and close friends. I am very grateful for the loving relationships in my life and for the positive impact it has on my health.

In fact, scientific research has proven that the lack of social relationships contribute to higher mortality rates. A 2010 study completed by researchers at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill concludes:

"Social relationships, or the relative lack thereof, constitute a major risk factor for health - rivaling the effect of well established health risk factors such as cigarette smoking, blood pressure, blood lipids, obesity and physical activity.”

They describe how loneliness is becoming epidemic in well-developed countries, like the United States and the United Kingdom, and this social isolation is truly an indicator of how long one might live.

I guess we knew that already since most extended families no longer live with or near each other and independence or being on one's own is so valued in contemporary society. This is why my husband and I are in the process of purchasing a condominium in the same town in which we sold our house of 28 years just this past September. We realized that we need a 'home base' for our nuclear family of four as our sons leave the nest and my husband and I flee as often as possible to the southern state condominium we bought five years ago. But our roots are here; our boys are grounded here - in New York.  

I am so grateful. I am thrilled that my two young men want us in their lives as much as we want to be in theirs. I am excited that we can all look forward to a gathering place - a home for all of us and, later, their wives and children, if that's in the future. And be it South or North, we will be together.

My memories are so strong and I can't help thinking of the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch that I tried and tried to read all the way through to my sons when they were young. It's 'refrain' is simple but powerful:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

Throughout the simple story, the mother rocks her little baby to and fro' singing this little song. She does it when her son is in his younger years all the way up to when he is a grown man when she sneaks over to his house in the dark of  night and pulls him out of bed and rocks him there. Implausible? Yes;  but the pictures speak a million words. 

Then the mom grows old and tired and asks her son to visit her. It is then that the grown son holds his feeble mother and rocks her to and fro' singing:

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my Mommy you'll be.

Even though my tears are flowing long before this part of the simple but powerful book, now I can't even continue reading. And then the grown son repeats this act with his newborn daughter. 

I love deeply even though it means I will be hurt from time to time. I love so many people in my life and I am not afraid to express it even if I just have to whisper 'love you' as I'm leaving someone's house or my church or even a doctor's office. At times, it's a quick 'love you' to God and those whom I have lost to death. 

So forgive me my tears as I try to read Robert Munsch's book. Borrow it from the children's library and try it yourself. I dare you.

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