Love: Does It Ever Grow Old?
“Once there was you..and me…now there’s us and I am so happy!”
“I made a wish and you came true”
“I never knew this kind of love existed”
“You mean the world to me” “I love you deeply”
Believe it or not, all of those sentiments were taken out of love letters written to me by my husband when we first fell in love. Nearly 24 years ago a very handsome fella walked into my office, asked me out for dinner and our lives were forever changed. As our love story began I was only 20 years old; he was 25. Our first date was quite simple, he cooked dinner and we watched a VHS movie at his place. He drove me home, kissed me good night and in an instant I knew he was “the one”. Over the next several months, we spent many romantic evenings together over dinner, candles and soft music. We worked at a small college and every time he would pass through my office, my knees turned to mush and my heart would nearly beat out of my chest. Then the love letters and cards began to show up. I would find them on the windshield of my car, on my desk, in my mailbox, everywhere. Flowers began to arrive with love notes attached. I was the luckiest girl in the world to have found such a romantic loving man who would shower me with so much love and affection. Young love was beyond beautiful; it was perfect and it was ours.
A mere five months after our first date, David proposed marriage with tears in his eyes; I accepted and our journey as husband and wife began a year later. We said “I do” hopped in our car, drove to our new home, packed our bags and headed off to his homeland of Jamaica for our honeymoon. There we shared a week of romance, dining on the beach, long walks in the moon light; love was grand and we were living the good life. As far as we could see, it was smooth sailing. Love would pave the way to pure bliss. After returning from our honeymoon, reality set in. There were bills to be paid and sometimes not enough money to pay them. There were no more steak dinners, bottles of wine and Friday night dates. We learned to be thrifty with our money, ate a lot of mac and cheese, hamburger casseroles, and the occasional standby ramen noodles. Sometimes the romantic sentiments would be replaced with short tempers, quarrels and tears of homesickness; some days I just wanted to go home. Our idea of the perfect marriage was being transformed by the hard knocks of life and reality. Our love was changing; growing up so to speak right along with us.
After four years of marriage our daughter Melinda was born. Looking into her eyes the first time I realized a love so deep within me it took my breath away. This beautiful girl was ours; created by our love for one another. We took her home on Mother’s Day 1993 and it was at that point in our lives, our love was challenged again. Sleepless nights, overwhelming amounts of laundry, diapers, bottles, jobs, and housework became a priority and for a while we forgot to show our love each other. We never stopped loving each other, but the romance took a backseat to life. Deciding to expand our family baby number two was on the way and then without warning our baby was gone and we were faced with the deepest form of sadness we could imagine. Dealing with this loss deepened our love for one another. As we grieved for our loss we also grieved for our little girl who lost just as much. Holding onto one another for comfort was all we could do. The hurt eased (but never went away) and two years later our son Christopher was born on our 9th wedding anniversary. Once again the demands of a newborn took over and we set ourselves on auto pilot. Gradually life settled down and in what seems like the blink of an eye we now have a daughter in college and a son in the 8th grade. Whew! We’ve made it and we still love each other.
As difficult as it is to admit sometimes, we are now middle aged parents with teenagers facing challenges of their own. Our love for one another has remained but it certainly has changed over the past 24 years. Being parents can and will re-define love in your life. As we mature we realize that young love is truly blissful; it is exciting, romantic, unpredictable, breath taking, and sensual. Mature love is a love that has weathered many storms transforming itself into a comfortable, secure sense of purpose and belonging. Now, our love is represented by simple things in our life. Love is an empty dishwasher, a warm car on a cold morning, a simple text to let the other know you are thinking of them and falling asleep holding hands. Love is turning the porch light on when he comes home late at night or fumbling to get ready for work in the dark so he doesn’t wake me up and waking up to find “I love you” written on the bathroom mirror. Love is sharing our faith openly with each other, raising our children together and trusting each other always. Love is open, honest, plain, simple and forever. It’s us…..it’s love.