So Much Still To Learn

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..

69 thoughts on “So Much Still To Learn

  1. Oh my godd! I have always loved reading all of your posts, but this one juct touched my heart! 🙂
    Love it..<3
    If you ever get time do read my blog and leave a comment, i'll really appreciate it 🙂 thank you! xx

  2. A wonderful love story. May they continue to share their lives for many more years of health and togetherness.

  3. Beautiful, honey, and so piercing in its observations. I remember well watching my grandparents, who were married for 52 years before my grandmother, God rest her soul, passed. They, too, had a language all their own–the amount of information that could be conveyed in a simple gesture or murmur astounds me to this day. There is much to be learned from those who have lived and loved for so many years. They are blessed to have such a loving, gracious, warm and wise daughter-in-law with whom to share these golden years. My love to you all….

  4. My father in law just turned 80 and he is slipping away. When I am with him I say to my self “I will die soon. You will die soon. This moment is all we have.” and I make the most of every second. I have gotten to know him better in the past 6 months than in the previous 35 years I have known him simply by being present to him…

  5. Oh honey, I think we are the lucky ones – to get to see and learn and understand how life can enrich love and enhance it – in the face of many challenges and unexpected changes…xoxo

  6. Once again you made me smile inside out, my friend. Thank you, Mimi, for this wonderful tribute to your in-laws, elderly wisdom, love, laughter, grace, and acceptance.

  7. The emotion that lies beneath the words you write is palpable. I feel a bit like a voyeur; the tenderness and intimacy you write of is so very visual. And last, certainly not least, having walked in your shoes once and walking in them once again, the cruel intrusion of memory loss and its accompanying sadness does not win when such love can still triumph. I can only wish for all of us to have that in our golden years. Another testament to why they are “the greatest generation.” Today’s portrait is a masterpiece.

  8. As I wipe the sides of my eyes, I realize how lucky I am to have my parents, and to witness their never ending love and devotion to each other. Equal to the tears from what I witnessed these past few days, are the tears of appreciation I have for my bride. She gives and she gives, and her love knows no bounds. I am so appreciative and in awe of how special she is, and how lucky I am to spend my happiest years with her (you). You’re The Best!!!

    • I’ll take a flower any day 😉 !! And coming from you it is all the more special. Thank you for finding my heart in the words – I put it out there for those who care to see..xox

  9. What a wonderful tribute to your mother and father! Their intimacy, their interest in each other and how actively they say “I love you” are all testimonies to that love they share. I am in awe of the story and the way you wrote it. My parents were drawn to each other but their love story was more humorous. I posted about my parents, my grandparents and my great grandparents love stories. I enjoy asking at gatherings, “How did you meet your husband/wife?” So much fun and such diverse answers!

    • Thank you!! I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear though – these are my in-laws. My parents (and all of the ginormous elements of my love for them) are no longer with us and I miss them daily. That doesn’t diminish this particular love story at all – one that deserves extra-special mention!

      • Maybe you could edit my comment! I am so sorry about the loss of your parents. No, I did not read carefully enough. I apologize but do want to emphasize how much I enjoyed their love story!

      • It’s ok – really..I just wanted to let you know. It didn’t diminish or dilute the loveliness of your comments nor my appreciation for them! hugs, m

  10. This hits me on so many levels – their enduring love, your patience and loving ways with them. the legacy these two beautiful people have created – love and so much more really, the love story behind it all and how it circles around to love in the modern times – classic tunes on an iPad for them to dance to. It’s really almost too much, if that makes any sense. A few days ago, WP had Love in the Digital Age [or similar] as the daily writing prompt. You didn’t need that…here it was, in your home! Mims…what a beautiful and vivid way to share those few days. You are something else, and you know what I mean. 🙂 xoxo

    • And I’ll still maintain that you’re fantastically biased..:-) This really is a love story of the ages, and that is something that Andy and his sister (and my brother-in-law and I) have been given as a remarkable legacy. That and my father-in-law putting skills – he golfs every week and Andy learned how to play alongside his dad…xoxox

  11. “The years teach much which the days never knew” and one of the advantages of getting older is actually to find more moments in those days so as to stretch out the years.

  12. A wonderful post, and it was fun listening to Louis Prima, who I haven’t heard for years. I often read good advice in blogs, or positive thinking… but it is those meetings with people like your father in law. There aren’t many like him, but occasionally we get to meet… or spend some with someone like that… and they come in all ages, always bringing a smile to the heart, that provide the real inspiration for me. Thank you Mimi.

    • There are many forms of inspiration to me – that offered by the written word, the delight and/or heartbreak in music, an ‘aha’ moment with a friend. And yes, the rare individual who is in your life who instruct and inspire far more by deed than word. It’s another one of life’s gifts. Thank you Shimon.

  13. One of my Mom’s favorite CD’s when she was driving…so much fun. Thanks for sharing your in-laws with us; just at a time when I’ve been thinking about how the next 30 years might play out. There is so much to learn from those who got it right, growing old gracefully and in love (there’s that word again). Your in-laws sound like amazing people, and I am beyond impressed with their tech skills. If I could predict the future, I would say you and Andy can surely duplicate their grace.
    There’s a new book “The Wonder of Aging” covering from ages 50-100. I just ordered it last week. It’s a very positive outlook on what’s ahead. Xo

    • I just ordered it too Fran – thanks for sharing the book with me. My father-in-law is pretty darn facile with technology – it’s impressive! And yes, I am learning a great deal from him now – perhaps even more so in the present than in the past. Their love for each other is incredibly touching – and I have a hunch Andy and I are going to try and hang in there in similar form (hopefully in super health)..xox

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