My in-laws celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary yesterday. What do you say about two people who have successfully navigated the tricky waters of marriage and have spent far more time together in their union than as single people alone? My mom used to say you never really understood another couple’s relationship unless you slept under their bed. I have no intention of crawling under anybody’s bed – least of all my in-laws. So, I can tell you what I see. I see two people with a profound abiding love, who memorized the steps to their dance and have never tired of the music. I see a man who will go to the ends of the earth for the girl he fell for only yesterday, who protects her with a stoic dignity that requires no bluster or bellow. You don’t cross Pop when it comes to his wife. And why would you – seeing and celebrating their love teaches more than most life lessons – and without the pain it usually takes to learn something once and for all. I’m not going to pretend to understand the chapters of their story, the private moments that define their relationship, the challenges they have faced. I can marvel and applaud their love, their devotion and their unity.
Next Wednesday I go into the hospital so the surgeon can remove one of these little gremlins that has taken up residence in my jaw. Though we know it’s benign, we still don’t know what they are, or frankly why the hell they’re there. All will be well. I know this – it’s not a Pollyanna thing. I’m not saying that I have no anxiety – that’s just disingenuous. But as long as we can keep this to one procedure, I’m good. I’m good because of my small constellation of friends who have been circling me like the angels that they are. My friends who don’t ask me to let them know what they can do, they just somehow know what to do. My daughter-in-law who just checks in with a concern that leaves me weepy (there’s nothing that can make me weepier than my children). I’m good because of Andy, though sometimes his sensitivity chip is disengaged. Because even when he misses the cue, or waits for guidance I can’t provide because I’m groping around in the dark, he really loves me very hard. And in that way, he’s like his dad. And in that way, I’m a very lucky woman.
In these chilling days with winds that blow in personal moments of uncertainty, we gravitate to those elements that warm us, anchor us to the ground so that we don’t fly away on the breeze. I look at my in-laws and know that together they are in the most loving of hands. I look at my husband and I know I am home.[youtube.com/watch?v=c4D40r-E7yk]