Copyright Tracy Cutchlow

Love is comin’ atcha

It was the first day of school for my daughter, after a chill month kicking around the house together without summer camps. As the school bus pulled away, a small glee arose in my heart.

I thought, “I can go running!”

I took off into a forested ravine, hopping down wooden stairs and racing down a steep, fern-lined trail toward the main dirt path below. Tingling with the anticipation of being in one of my favorite parks in Seattle, I looked out over the deep green cedars and sparkling stream awaiting me.

I didn’t see the tree root.

Stumbling into big steps, arms flailing, I skidded into the splits and landed in a cloud of dust — right next to a tiny woman. She jumped and looked down over her left shoulder. “Oh, honey,” she said.

Her tiny, fluffy dog put its paws on my arm and licked my cheek over and over. My instinct was to demur, but instead I bent down a bit so the dog could reach more easily. I sat there for a minute, taking it all in. I stood up and tried to brush myself off. Dust caked a good-sized scrape blooming on my knee. “Are you OK?” the woman said, a forgotten conference call chattering in the background. “Come here.” She gave me a hug. A real hug, with soothing noises, and I let myself sink into it. Tears sprang into my eyes at the kindness of this stranger and her dog. She hugged me again.

I thanked her, dragged my sleeve across my face, and started to run. Soon it was just me in the forest: the pulsing of pain in my palms, the rasp of my out-of-practice breath, the pounding of my footsteps on packed dirt. Then I started to laugh.

Love is comin’ atcha.

Just a few days earlier, my yoga teacher had talked about how “love is comin’ atcha” in so many ways, if only we’re open to receiving it. She said we often have expectations — handed to us, forged long ago — about what love should look like, who it should come from, when it should come. Maybe we bought into the knight in shining armor. Or we have specific ideas of what we think our partner or child or parent should be doing for us. And if love doesn’t appear in that form, we don’t see it. We mistake it for something else. It passes us by.

This made me think of a couple things. One was my annoyance when my husband used to bring home strawberry ice cream. It’s my least favorite flavor, and I’d be irritated that he didn’t remember that about me, instead of seeing the love comin’ at me.

The second was a time my daughter was maybe 3 years old. We were arranging to meet a stranger: the college-age daughter of a mentor of mine, who happened to be in town for an event. I was texting with details, something that fascinated my little one at the time. “Anything you want to say to her?” I asked, just to involve her.

“Tell her I love her,” she said.

“But you don’t even know her!” I blurted. I chuckled. And then I corrected myself.

She was wiser than me about love.

Copyright Betty Udesen / Pear Press
Written by

Tracy Cutchlow

Tracy is the author of the international bestseller Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science, a public speaker, and a creator of places to speak and be heard. Sign up for her newsletter here.

2 thoughts on “Love is comin’ atcha

  1. Sigh… I needed that. Thanks. Especially about the strawberry ice cream.. Gonna be watching out for love 🙂 Sending more love your way

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