For as long as I can remember my dad has kicked off our phone conversations with “Who loves ya babe?” instead of the prescribed “Hi”, as his greeting. When I was younger, and a little cockier I would rattle off a list of names under his anticipatory listening and then eventually get to the answer he was waiting for “you do dad.”
“That’s right” he would say.
Now, I don’t make him wait for that answer.
All the stuff in between is fluff and circumstance, it’s the greeting that I look forward to the most. He also loves to quote movie characters so it’s quite likely that he was simply trying to be Kojak.
I love that my dad doesn’t wait until the end of our conversation to tell me he loves me and, while it got an eye-roll from me as a teenager, I simply adore this audible ritual, as an adult. Though extremely generous and funny (he used to let me watch Monty Python when I was a kid. To the horror of strangers, I’d walk down the street singing “sit on my face and tell me that you love me” – it was the 70’s, he thought that was hysterical.) my dad is not a man of many words. When I ask him what he is doing, his standard response is “talking to you” and when our conversation comes to an end and I say “I miss you dad” he replies; “Well, come home then.” To the point!
My mum is always excited to hear my voice, or see me on skype. It’s like the radio station has called her up and told her she has won an all expenses paid trip somewhere. There is always a gasp followed by a zealous recognition that it’s me and then, without fail, she throws in ‘darling’. Sometimes it’s “hello, my darling daughter” (she loves to affirm that I am her daughter, even if it is only to me…just in case I forget), other times it’s “Hello, Lyn darling” and on a lazy day just a simple “hello darling”. It’s safe to say the “hello, my darling daughter” is a good indication she’s having a ripper of a good day!
Unlike my dad, my mum loves a good word or two and so, after the darling, we launch into a lot more fluff and circumstance. Then it’s, “I love you my darling” for her goodbye.
Because I am so used to these greetings I have taken it all for granted, of course. Even a little contempt “Mum, I’m 35, could we stop with darling daughter? I feel like I’m in potty training all over again.”
That is until I started this little 14 days of love project and I realized how these greetings are the way my parents show up to me. If these greetings weren’t there, our fluff and circumstance would be different. In fact, everything would be different. Since I have been thinking incessantly over the last 11 days about the little ways we give love, or we embrace love – not just in romance but in all areas of our life, I realize the way we arrive is often more loaded than the way we say goodbye. It reveals.
If, as shakespeare states “All the world’s a stage” then your arrival is your act 1, your unveiling. Greetings set the scene since we can’t hide a hello, the way we can a goodbye. Whether this is in a phone conversation, an online video chat, an email, a letter or a physical encounter.
To get even more metaphorical about it, we open our heart in a hello – face forward, heart revealed. Even if we’re ultimately having to say goodbye, it looms underneath an arrival.
The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye. ~ Jimmy Hendrix
It’s had me thinking about all the ways in which people in my life arrive, and, of course, the way I arrive. I had a long distance boyfriend once who always, upon hearing my voice, answered with a larger than life “How ya doin babe?” like he was smiling from ear to ear. Laughter is always in his voice and even now, as we are great friends, his greeting still makes me smile because he smiles in it.
Another past boyfriend always started our conversations, or his voice mail with “Hey beautiful” or “hey sweetie” and I would start mine off with “hey handsome”. Recently I went through my inbox and text messages to do some housekeeping and I noticed that all of the message exchanges with dear friends started with a “Hey Love” or “Hey Gorgeous” – from either end.
Affirming someone’s arrival with a genuine expression of want means that you don’t wait until the end, to show them love. How do you arrive? And, how do the one’s you love arrive for you?
Jim Morrison had it right