Growing up in an African home, there are so many things that were made into silent rules. No one sits you down and reads a list of things not to do or what is required of you, you observe, learn and get in line.
When I was little, below 5 years little, I would run up to my father when he got home and he would lift me high up and maybe carry me on his lap. Then I do not know what happened when but it changed. It always stops somewhere. Nobody told me to. I just stopped. I do not even remember the transition. Perhaps it is an unwritten tradition, but all traditions are not written, so we will go with it being a tradition. Decent hugs are only exchanged between same sex relatives and no matter how excited you are you just shake hands with the opposite sex. That’s how I found it and I am not questioning.
Through all this, people love each other. Deeply. Immensely. Through action. Sometimes banter, reproach, tough love but they still love you. That is the truth. The husbands hardly called their wives, wife; it was just “mama watoto” (Mother of my children) The generation that followed was a little bit different, people could be seen together, hugs were exchanged, hands were held even in public and flirty glances thrown around. The cold hearts were thawing and the love as is known to our generation.
Enter the generation we are currently riding in. I am no love doctor or relationship expert but our idea of love is pretty much all over the place. Updating relationship statuses, pictures taken together, tags, trips taken together and the whole romantic nine yard. As messed up as it is, this P.D.A generation has to be the closest to the epitome of romance that I have experienced in real life. It is a good thing.
Love in any other name is still love. Actions especially. A warm cup of tea/coffee, a home-made meal, thoughtful gifts, inside jokes, protecting each other, holding hands, Spending time alone together, apologizing, forgiving, trusting, supporting and encouraging each other for the better, communicating as much as possible, creating memories together, compromising fairly without being a yes button. I can only run out of breath but not out of the actions that portray love. Not everyone who uses the four letter word with you loves you, these days it is a pleasantry. Hi love, hey hun, babe this babe that. Rolls eyes
Some questions/statements mean much more than just conversation. Have you eaten? How was your day? Let me know when you get home. How was your night? You do not sound okay, would you like to talk? Are you okay? Are you feeling better? Have you seen a doctor? Stay right where you are, I am coming! I think you would look better in the other outfit (and goes on to explain why).
No two people can ever be the same, and no one is perfect.
Men think differently and so do women, scratch that. Women and men are not wired the same. As unevenly yoked as we can be, love is a beautiful thing and everyone should experience it.