Tony Leighton is a Canadian writer happily retired and attempting to help others feel the same.

Love Lists

I proclaimed the power of the love letter earlier this week. But some people feel intimidated when sitting down to a blank sheet of paper, even if they have immense affection for the person to whom intend to write.

There’s another power tool in the bag of the appreciator: the list.

I love lists. I might love love lists most of all.

The one I sent to that long-ago girlfriend — “100 Reasons We Should Be Together” — was less of a letter and much more of a list; an elephantine bag of enumerated love darts.

After reading “Love Letters” yesterday, a friend sent me something I want to pass along (with her permission). It's a love list, composed collaboratively eight years ago by her family for one of her kids on his 22nd birthday.

It’s a thing of collective beauty.

The young man’s clever dad (also my friend) started the list entitled, “Ten Things I Love About Alex.”

10. You’re fit and trim and you try to live healthfully.

9. You’re loyal to your loved ones.

8. You always say “yes” when I ask if you want to come along for the drive.

7. You slept with a bat close by.

6. You’re a natural non-conformist, who inspires me to be non-conformist.

5. You make things more fun.

4. You are determined that your life be authentic, and not lived according to some traditional standard.

3. You look like me.

2. You don’t put much stock in mere appearances, like position and reputation.

1. You’re brave and adventurous.

The list grew to 20 when his mother added her ten. Among them were, “You went to yoga with the old tennis ladies,” and “I know the word ‘econometrics’ because of you.”

Then one sister added her ten, including, “You will listen to me talk about anything, including girly problems, then give your honest and unique opinion,” and “You are always ready to play!”

Then the other sister: “You keep tuna in your closet," and “You're not embarrassed to show me your brotherly love, even when friends are around.”

And finally, his uncle: “There’s not a malicious bone in your body,” and “You comfort others when they're feeling low.”

Fifty declarations of admiration stitched into one big, warm quilt of a love list.

What a birthday gift. So easy. So fun. So unforgettable.


Vocabuteria: alacrity

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