Today marks my parents’ 39th anniversary. They have been together for nearly forty years. As in a life time. I can’t fathom being with anyone that long; (yeah yeah, I haven’t found the right dude etc…which is all valid and true). What makes people be able to not just love, but tolerate the other person?
About 2 or 3 weeks after my father officially retired a few years back, he and my mother went to the grocery store together. I remember seeing them come back from Stop & Shop and I thought they were going to get a divorce. Apparently, my father likes to do the self check out. Each time he was weighing produce or something, he squinted at the screen, looked back down on the scale at the produce he was weighing, then remembered that his glasses are in his shirt pocket, and puts them on to do the whole thing over again, but clearly. I think that put my mother over the edge, so she said she’d wait in the car. I probably would have done the same thing also; but I was really scared their marriage was donzo. Nope, they kept on truckin’, and the best part about it is that they laugh about it now, and don’t go food shopping together any more.
They also are very do-it-yourselfers. They needed the trim of the house painted, so instead of hiring a company to do it, they did it together. They don’t have landscapers come over their house every 6 weeks, they weed, garden and mow the lawn together. Today, it seems that there is a specialist for every minute thing in and around the house; interior decorator, light specialist, house cleaner, personal assistant. My parents are all of those things, and take pride in the fact that they manage their life and home on their own. Please do not misunderstand me; I am not judging those that have any of the above mentioned specialists; I just am thankful I have had two role models instill in me a very simple yet strong message: I am capable enough to do anything.
My mother gave me great advice about love when I was about 14. It was midwinter, snow was on the ground, and if you had the choice to stay inside, you would. It was around 8pm at night, dinner was over, and I was watching tv in the den which opens up to the kitchen. My mom opened the garbage door, and cooed: aww, Col took out the trash. She said it in a way that sounded like awww, my husband gave me a dozen red roses, how romantic. Me being the snarky daughter that I am, snickered under my breath, unaware she had heard me. She stood straight up, looked me dead in the eye and said: You know Margaret? Love isn’t about who will bring you flowers and there aren’t fireworks in the night sky every night. Love is when the person you’re with knows you don’t want to take the trash out on a cold winter’s night so he does it for you.
I never forgot that.
Amazing. Theirs is a story of compassion, patience and love. 39 years. Keep it up. (xo)