Is this love?

My mom and dad had their 54th wedding anniversary yesterday.  There are things and people I liked five, 10, and 15 years ago, that I don’t like now…I think it’s fabulous that my mom and dad have loved each other for 54 years…how did they do it??  I am SOoooo different in so many ways now at 52 than I was at 25, and I can not imagine how life would have been had I fell in love with a boy and got married at 21, as my mom was, and at 75 was still married to him and still loved him deeply as my mom is…This is a poorly constructed thought, but I have been having a terrible time trying to get my brain and the thoughts and the words to all sync up.  I simply find it marvelous, and also believe it mighty difficult to achieve; to want to keep loving a person for 54 years, because really, it’s a gargantuan feat, what my parents did, are doing, will be doing, until death parts them…

A handful of my friends from high school are still married to their teenage sweethearts, and a handful of my friends from high school still have parents who are still married…both groups of people are rather small…it’s big, to have love that lasts isn’t it??  I think about that song by Van Halen, “I want the best of both worlds”…in the beginning couples want fun and laughter, and physical attraction, but later they also want stability and security and peace of mind…I feel like having the best of both worlds is what is so unattainable for most of us…the boys who I found attractive were never the ones who would be good husbands or fathers or “providers,” and I have heard many men woefully lament that the “hot chicks” were good to look at but they could not hold a significantly meaningful conversation and were not good cooks…These are indeed sweeping generalizations, and totally gender stereotypes which I don’t like to perpetuate, but the fact is, lasting relationships are not easy to create and nurture and I suspect they are not at all common…I feel like most people I know have been divorced, which I suppose is the norm, and figuring out HOW to make love last, and HOW to continue to care about a person as you both change and age, and HOW to handle the stumbles and errors of being human, AND at the end of the day STILL CHOOSE THIS ONE PERSON, is a life trick that not many of us know…

I am certain that there are things about my mother that drive my dad crazy, but you would not ever know of it…his eyes sparkle when he laughs with her and he has never said an unkind word to her.  He STILL chuckles and says, “she’s the best wife I ever had” whenever I make a snarky remark about something that irked me…he fell in love with her and he chose her and he promised to love her for all of his life and he has done so…what woman would not feel blessed and lucky to have that in a father.  My mother has said for all of the years of my life that she was friends with all the local guys but they all went to the bars on Friday after work with their paychecks and cursed, and they were not what she wanted in a husband…I know enough women who grew up with terrible fathers to know that my gratitude is not misplaced;  that my mother had the good sense to choose a good man to create a family with IS A GIFT.  My sister and I do not agree on very much, but on this, I would guess we are in complete harmony.

I have said it to them and to others, that no two people seem more perfect for each other than my mom and dad. I find being around fussy eaters VERY ANNOYING but my parents are both fussy eaters and literally eat the same food every day, at the same time.  THIS would be a total deal breaker for me in a relationship but for them, it is just another thing that makes their relationship seem easy.  They both love their house and their yard and the same music, they are both homebodies, and seem perfectly content with their lifestyle. My love of home is a characteristic that I do get from them, but I also love to go out to dinner, or to dinner parties, or to try new things for dinner, or to meet new people at a dinner party or to chat up a couple at a bar, or go to a concert, or to…or to…or to…which is not at all like either of my parents.  We used to have a sign in our house, in the hallway, when I was a teenager that read, The greatest gift a man can give his children is to love their mother, and even though I am going to be 53 years old this fall, I can tell you, it is probably the truest statement…the love that my parents have for each other is one of the greatest gifts they ever gave me…to be part of a loving family for all of my life, Yes, that is love.


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