My in-laws left today after a few days visit with us here in VA. Our time together was relaxed and laugh-filled, much conversation and time to enjoy each other’s company. And I sit here reflecting on what I learned while they were here.
Pop is 87 and his beloved is six years his junior. They met when she was 16 years old. He was an ex-GI, recently graduated from NYU. She was a beautiful girl with a very protective father. When Pop’s friend first told him about her, he told him to give her a nickel and tell her to call him when she was older. Love finds its way – they married three years later.
The number of times they say “I love you” in a day exceeds the number of digits on my body (even if I include my eyes, ears, nose, etc – and yes, I know they’re not digits). We downloaded a bunch of songs on Pop’s new iPad (Louis Prima is a kick; Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong) – and he told me about a theater in the Bronx where he would go to and pay fifty cents to hear these masters perform. I suggested that now they had music to dance to – he told me they already do. I think they will keep dancing whether or not the iPad is charged.With the Kindle app, he’s got the ordering process down and has some reading to get him started. And yet please don’t think that I was the teacher while they were here. There’s a reason why the family calls him “The Coach”.
Their life together is changing. Age does that. Memory doesn’t serve my mother-in-law in the way we all wish it would. There are new challenges, frustrations, adjustments that the most flexible among us would be hard-pressed to adopt. And they are taking life one moment at a time – and laughing along the way. Their laughter is intimate; it’s an inside joke that none of us need to get. It is tender to watch; an element of the character of deep love. There are no classes offered on grace, so you only get to learn it by seeing it. These days were a lesson in grace. And the enormous power of love that can thrive for over sixty years.
“To know how to grow old is the master-work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the art of living.” — Henri Amiel
I’m not rushing time, it has a speed of its own which is already too fast for my liking. I am however, appreciative of the wisdom that comes with time, savoring the lessons one can learn from those who are cherishing every moment. Thank you both – this is for you..