There Is No ‘Normal’ Kind Of Love


I spent the last few days on holidays with a friend of mine and her two sons, one of whom is non-verbal. It’s an interesting term. This beautiful boy can’t speak in the language that you and I speak, but he spoke a universal language that anyone can understand – the language of love. This boy who cannot speak shines love through big brown eyes shadowed with the longest black lashes you have ever seen. He communicates his love for his Mum in every pull on her hand, in every smile, in every minuscule glance upwards into her eyes.

The notion of a shared we, of a shared space when the I becomes the we, is usually how we describe romantic love; but I saw this love the last few days. This boy and his mum are just love. They are their own we.

And I can’t stop thinking about them as I’m sitting here watching the sun set. My kids are asleep and my friends have gone back to their homes. The house is quiet. I know I should be trying to plough through my backlog of life admin but I keep getting distracted by the sunset in front of me. And this thought.

That the only thing equal to the knowledge that light follows dark and dark follows light is that love is not just universal, it is transcendental.

Love doesn’t always need language, nor touch, nor even time.
Love crosses age, religion, gender and location. Love – in all its forms – can be messy and mean and passionate and crazy and complicated and all-consuming and angsty and beautiful and can make you at the same time both exponentially happier than you have ever felt before and desperately, unequivocally, sad.

Love is the one thing that both continues after death, and can be fundamental to the creation of life. Love itself is born in trust, and dies without it. There can be trust without love, but no love without trust.

Love is the one sensation for which time means nothing and depth means everything. There is no distance equal to love, even when love needs space to survive. Love – even in its briefest revelation – is never fleeting.

Love is love is love is love is love is love.

They are the words Lin Manuel Miranda spoke when accepting the Tony award for best musical for Hamilton. He was speaking to the tragedy of the previous day when dozens of people were killed in a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, simply for being gay.

Love is love is love is love is love is love.

The speech was a beautiful reminder that there should be no rules to love. No boxes to tick or stereotypes to conform to or expectations to meet. That the very essence of love is that there is no “normal”; that each love, just as each person, is different, its own version of itself that can never be replicated. Each love has its own unique fingerprint.

Love is love is love is love is love is love.

It’s the most famous line from the speech, quoted and requoted, tweeted and retweeted millions of times. Its spectacular in its simplicity. But for me there was another line in his speech which truly spoke to love. In speaking of his wife, Lin said:

She nudges me towards promise by degrees.

This is the crux I think of love. That all you want when you love someone is to nudge that person towards the best they can be. Whether it be the love for your child, or anyone else in your life, this is all that matters. That together you are better than you are as individuals, because together you push each other to be more, to do more, to feel more and to know more. Whatever more is, however measured or defined. By small degree or with giant steps. Just more.

On the first night we were here, we were sitting on the balcony and my friend looked up and pointed to the brightest star in the night sky. We worked out that it was Venus, the planet named after the goddess of love. We didn’t realise it at the time, but Venus was shining at its brightest for 8 years… My friend’s son is 7 years old. The light of Venus… and love… has never been stronger in his lifetime than it was that night.

Every day my friend nudges her son towards his promise. With every loving look she nudges him forwards. Love is not someone pushing you past your limits; love is someone looking into your eyes and letting you know without words that they believe that you have none. Like how my friend looks at her boy.

And the promise that that kind of pure love brings is as guaranteed as tomorrow’s sunrise.