When I was little, I don’t ever remember seeing my parents kiss. Or even show affection.

I kind of attributed that to having two kids and not wanting to show PDA around us. But then I saw my aunt and uncle cuddling, hugging, and kissing around my brother, our younger cousins, and me.

It wasn’t until I was about 11-years-old I actually saw my parents argue for the first time. My mother had been in a pretty bad accident a few years prior that left her with constant migraines. Unfortunately, that often left her bound to her bed for days.

She slept while he worked. When they did talk, it was about my brother and me. All I wanted to hear was a simple “How are you?” or “Have a good day.” How was I supposed to learn how to love if I didn’t have an example?

But when my brother moved out and it was just my dog and me left, I began to see some signs of affection. At the dinner table, we’d talk about anything but me. My father would lean his head down and kiss my mother’s forehead before she drifted off to sleep. I watched them go on dates as I willingly made dinner myself.

I got to watch my parents fall in love again.

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That doesn’t mean I ever thought they were “out of love.” But as a child, I needed to see it to believe it. I only knew my parents loved each other because of the rings they wore on their fingers.

But as I grew older and learned a lot more, I learned that people show affection in different ways. And that’s what I learned from watching my parents fall in love (again).

That lesson, for me, is bigger than anything else they’ve ever taught me. Because though I yearned for them to be in love, I didn’t realize that they were. I didn’t understand that setting out a cup of coffee the first thing in the morning meant, “Have a good day!” I didn’t know that not taking up all of the hot water meant, “You had a rough day, I’m sorry.” I didn’t know buying someone’s favorite flavor of ice cream so it’s always in the freezer meant, “I love you.”

Love and affection come in all forms. If you start thinking that everyone shows affection the same way, you’ll start to doubt the love that’s already there.