T here are so many words which could follow that opener. Selfless. Kind. All around us. (If you now one of my favorite holiday movies, Love Actually, you’ll recognize that line.) Love is fundamental to the human condition. Love is warmth, strength, heartbreak, healing, or a candle in the darkness. For most of us, it’s the first thing we see in the eyes of our mother looking down at us after birth, and if we’re lucky, the last thing we see from a loved one holding our hand as we say our final good byes. For the truly fortunate, there’s the kind of love that unites two people for a lifetime, through decades of thick and thin, sickness and health.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home with that kind of love. My parents married young and never regretted it. Then I married young and haven’t regretted that either for the last few decades. So, you see, it’s easy for me to write romance. I believe in happy-ever-after. The real-life version, anyway.
In real life, nobody is always happy. The car breaks down, someone gets sick or hurt, and people make stupid mistakes. Even happy ever afters aren’t perfect. The difference is that when life is rotten—and this has been one of those years for my family—you’re fortunate enough to have someone by your side to share the burden and remind you of the good times past and hopefully in the future.
L ove can happen when you’re any age—I know a couple who knew in kindergarten that they would spend their lives together—and they have. On the other hand, I have dear friends who were both happily single in their late 50s/early 60s, and are now even more happily coupled. Love doesn’t require perfection—it’s finding someone who can deal with your issues, even while you deal with theirs.
In real life, we also know that ever after isn’t really forever. I think that’s one of the main reasons people love vampire and other immortal characters in romance—for them, love really can span eternity. For mere mortals, however, we all know that life is fleeting. That’s why it’s so important to grab all the happiness we can, while we can. Another couple I know went into a marriage, in their early twenties. The young man had a terminal disease, and he told his bride, he could go at any time. She told him she’d take what she could get and they ended up with a medically astounding thirty years together. She still treasures each one, even though she has since remarried. Her young man would be delighted to know she has found love yet again.
L ove is what I treasure most. I also wish it for my sons. One is married to the woman he adores, despite some late-teen missteps that could have destroyed him. The other is edging forward in a more cautious way, as suits his nature. Love overwhelms me when I hear my granddaughter call me in an excited voice to come play or when my husband holds me close at night. Love brings us joy and it can break our hearts, but most of all, it makes our lives complete.
GIVEAWAY: In the spirit of the holidays and a happy new year, I’m offering a special prize to one random commenter—a $10 Amazon or B&N (your choice) gift card so you can read something that you’ll love. Wishing every one of you the happiest of New Years and I wish you love—all kinds of love in 2017. Just leave a comment below to be entered. Tina will do the drawing on Jan. 1.
C indy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Multiple award-winning author of the best-selling Gaslight Chronicles, she has released almost sixty novels and stories, which blend fantasy, adventure, science fiction, suspense, history and romance.
Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and two spoiled dogs. When not hard at work writing she can be found restoring her 1870 house, dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.
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