Lucky Collision

June 12, 2016

30 years ago today my husband and I literally collided and fell in love within an instant. We had been working together for a year and perhaps the tiniest of sparks had flown between us once or twice but nothing more. Then, that fateful Thursday afternoon we were at a ratings party (a quarterly celebration, infamous in the broadcasting industry). We sat on two bar stools engaged in smart, witty conversation – a guy joined us, a real “mover and shaker” (or so he thought) but he was really more like a Big Bad Wolf, tongue out and saliva dripping, just waiting to take advantage. He was considerably older and I was just a young thing and with my twenty-something sass I brushed him off…much to the amusement of my husband.

What followed was my husband offering me a lift home. We went back to the radio station to get his briefcase and as we stood alone, on opposite ends of the elevator, there was an incredible unspoken tension and magnetic pull….and as if in a movie – we suddenly rushed into each other`s arms and collided in a kiss. What happened next was a blur of dashing in and out of the radio station and getting into his ugly brown car  (seriously – who owns a brown sedan in their twenties? Another story in itself). We stopped at a red light and he leaned over and kissed me passionately on the lips and told me that that was what red lights were for….this from a man who was so reserved, never showing an ounce of flirtatiousness.

Once at my apartment – passion took over yet again, movie-like in every way. We were on fire and love literally exploded into fireworks. By midnight he had to leave and as I stood on the balcony of my cheap little apartment and watched him walk backwards, waving constantly to me until he finally he reached his car….I knew. I just knew.

What followed was a passionate haze that somehow seems to still surround us. Usually such explosive fire doesn’t seem to last, it often fizzles as two people burn themselves out -yet our passion continues today. The haze has cleared somewhat over the years as we have weathered the ups and downs of life – having children, losing parents, job changes, renovating a house….all the things that make life, LIFE.

So here we are – thirty years later –  and the absolute truth is that he rushes home to be with me every single night and my heart still leaps as he walks in the door, and when I see him walk towards me , he still looks 27 years old…making my heart skip a beat.

All week the weather station has been predicting rain for today – but guess what? As I sit here writing this….the sun is out and shining so brightly as the fireworks continue.

 

 

 

Forever Love Affair

June 3, 2015

My dad is dying. There is no nice way to say this. The ALS is eating his body up…but his mind and more importantly, his heart – have never been sharper or stronger.

He was rushed to the hospital with internal bleeding last week and as my mom and I followed the ambulance we made silly,disjointed and distracted conversation…my mother, because her heart is breaking piece by piece – me, because I am trying to catch whatever pieces I can.

He has been in for a week – and for the first day and a half they could not see each other as the countless tests kept my father separated from my mother. The next evening we were finally able to see him and as we walked into the room he smiled, his eyes lit up like a bonfire and my mother bent over to kiss him – not a tiny peck that so many elderly people exchange,-but a long, full, deep kiss on the lips.and in that moment I swear that I heard birds singing and imagined blossoms floating down around them as I heard the silent words “You may kiss the bride” – for in that moment I saw, not just my parents but the husband and wife…the lovers that they’ve been for almost 65 years.

My dad, so cruelly diagnosed with ALS, was taken to hospital 3 weeks ago –  he caught the flu (ironically, having had the flu shot). As a family, we have spent the last 3 weeks in limbo/in hell. How could this happen to our family? We kept saying. How could this happen to my parents, who have had an incredible 60+ year romance….one that has touched more people than I could ever have imagined. I bumped into some former neighbours last week – they broke down in tears, hearing about my parents; with whom they had just attended a neighbourhood cocktail party two weeks earlier (so like my parents!).  The woman, mustering all of her strength and courage said to me through tears; “Your parents are lucky. So many people never find that kind of love – and your parents shared their romance everywhere they went, waving at neighbours as they walked hand in hand” …..and there I was – holding someone in my arms who was touched by my parents, breaking down in public – appropriately unashamed. I watch my Dad fight an already decided losing battle. He fights the tears back whenever he says goodbye to my Mom for the day…he is not ready to break up with her….although, truth be told….one day he must.

My mom often says, in a small, quiet  voice, “You never think it’s going to end”.

Up until a few months ago they were still mall crawling on a rainy afternoon, going out for a burger, inviting friends over for cocktails….they have never stopped being that 25 year old couple – those precious newlyweds that had a lifetime of dreams ahead of them – they are always in a stage of planning things… after 60 years, my parents still have dreams.

And that – is what makes breaking up virtually impossible to do.

Where does the magic go?

February 6, 2014

I stopped by my parents’ home today to visit and say hello. My father has ALS which has been a tremendous blow to our family – we never saw it coming….a man who, although 86, puts most of us to shame with how active and in-shape he has always been. Walking 2 miles daily – rain or shine, and not in a shuffling elderly way – always striding at a clip, shoulders back.   He also worked  out at the gym three times a week  for the last 60 years – and by the way; never liked doing the “senior group” – always wanted to push himself and work out with young people. However, this is what Life has decided to hand him and we have no choice but to accept it. One of the incredible lessons has been the moments of insight I have had into my parents 60 year-long love affair….I have always known that they loved each other and they have never been afraid to show their devotion and affection, on a daily basis. They have also felt free express their normal marital differences from time to time – so I never had a skewed idea of what marriage was all about.

But, it is the intimate moments that I have accidentally witnessed.

One day, while in the hospital  awaiting results from a series of tests due to a false scare that he was suffering from a pulmonary embolism; I was sitting behind them in the waiting room and my mother suddenly said quietly “We had some really great times – didn’t we?”  and added “It seems like just yesterday. We had so much fun…”

My dad responded with a tired smile and nodded. “We sure did… it’s all in here” he said, pointing to his chest…to his heart.

I had to hold back the tears because it was not my time.

Today, while chit-chatting about life in general, my dad pointed out to my mother that the times that she holds most dear were the times when my sister and I were small children and they were a young couple – a young family. He reminisced about how they used to get together with their group of friends  – other young couple with young families. Glory days; for most of those lovely, fun-loving people, all of whom were a big part of my daily life….are long gone.

Once again – I kept the tears to myself because  it is not my time.

I often sit and talk with my husband and wonder out loud with him – where do all these wonderful times that we are having now, the good feelings, the long evenings of parties and gatherings with family and friends, all the hysterical laughter – where do these moments of magic go ….once we  – go?

On an unseasonably warm and sunny Halloween afternoon  60 years ago, my parents were married. Back then, Halloween was not as big of a holiday it is today – so it was seemingly just the perfect Saturday for a wedding.

I love his memory of how he and my mother met. They were at a wedding, unknowingly mutual friends of the bride. He saw my mother standing on the steps of the church and Cupid shot his arrow straight into my father’s heart – where it remains still firmly implanted…all these years later – he has never stopped seeing my mother as his girlfriend and my mother still sees him as her boyfriend….60 years later.

On that fateful day, my father offered to drive my mother home after the wedding – it was 1950 and a young lady didn’t take a car ride from just anybody! So, after get the go-ahead from the bride that he was indeed “safe”, he drove her home and promptly called her the following day for a date. Now, my mother tells me that gentlemen would call a lady for a date for the following Saturday night – and he wasn’t wasting a moment. She agreed and the date went well – and then he called her immediately to “book” her for the following week…and the following week…and the following week.

Rush forward 3 years – they booked the church for October 24…but close friends were desperate to get married on that date so my parents gave up their “reservation” and took the next available date, October 31st – Halloween.  My parents tell me it was about 75 F that day – unseasonably warm. A perfect sunny day.

In their 60 years they have never really been apart. They “date” regularly – always have, and their social life has often put mine to shame. My mother taught me to keep the romance alive (“a nice silky nightgown dear, flannel pajamas just aren’t quite appropriate”…I smile at that and have kept to her advice!). She told me to remember to keep my husband as close to First as possible (when you have kids) reminding me that he is who I will be with once the children are grown and moved out….and you don’t want to lose the whole reason you stood up at that alter for.

I write this through tears. Not of sentimentality – but sadness. My Dad was diagnosed with ALS this past summer and the last 3 months have turned our lives upside down…

…and our hearts, inside out.

The disease is progressing somewhat rapidly and it’s so cruel – not just because he is my Dad – but because this is a man who has worked out at the gym 3 times a week for 50 + years and taken long  walks daily,  and not meandering walks – brisk, heart pumping walks. Six months ago he stood, just a tad unsteady (we had no idea at the time) for family photos at Easter….one month later he was using a walker.

He remains as positive as possible, truly living for the day (and reminding me to do so as well). There was this incredible moment last month when he was at the hospital for a breathing issue….he was sitting in a wheelchair, waiting to be released and my mom and I were sitting with him in the waiting room. She was sitting beside him and I was behind them both. It was quiet – just us. Suddenly my mother broke the silence and said to him “We sure had a lot of fun, didn’t we?  Remember when we were young?” and added wistfully…. “It seems like it was just yesterday.” He looked over at her, nodded and smiled – “We sure did” he answered and then pointing to his heart told her, “that’s  because it’s all in here.”

I felt myself tearing up – it was as though I wasn’t there and that I was peeking in on this young couple.

I saw the newlyweds they were – that they still are….. “in there”

Married Fun

July 22, 2012

Like most people, I like to find treasure. Usually it comes in the form of something that someone is throwing away. Now, I can’t say that I prowl around in people’s’ garbage but on occasion I have come across some pretty nice finds – things that people were leaving out for trash. I’ve found a baby dresser, a vintage vanity with an unusual round mirror attached, and an old school desk – among other things. The problem is that you always see it at a time when you are not prepared to bring it home…but you do anyway and there’s always some sort of rigmarole involved.

Yesterday my husband and I spied a door…yes, a door. We need one for our laundry room and these vintage doors were perfect. There were three of them out on the curb, leaning against a huge tree with a “FREE” sign taped on them. We were about to take the one on top with its four lovely panes of glass, when my husband looked at the one behind it which had 12 panes in it – even better, to let all the light in.

Now, it’s an old door (aka heavy to lift) and of course, he needs my help to hoist it into the trunk. So there I am, standing in my white skirt (appropriately dressed for the occasion) waiting to help hoist it into the back of the vehicle  while  he is rummaging around in the back  pushing the car seats down and the thought that crosses my mind is;  “This is what you call –  married fun !”

Of course, it doesn’t quite fit properly,  kind of lays there on a downward angle  ready to slip out of the back at any moment –  not a great idea with all that glass. So we pull it back out and the only way to keep it secured is to slide it through the back window of the SUV. Again we lift it but I instantly see a problem –  those panes cannot rest on the back latch or the glass will – “tichhhhhh” – break….. Ok, well, it was only one pane of glass. We get into the car and start the slow drive down the street to our house and all I can think about is that this particular street has speed bumps! You guessed it – “tichhhhhh” – we lose another one. Now my husband is mumbling that he doesn’t even want the door anymore.

We make it home with our treasure, which (after cleaning up all the broken glass which fell inside the trunk) will go into the backyard to be stripped later that day. I’m now in the house with my youngest daughter and all the windows are open , as it’s summer and we hear another crash of glass as my husband carries the door around to the back and we both cry out “Oh no!” Fortunately – it was just the glass being dumped ceremoniously into the garbage can.

Nothing like a little married fun on a Saturday afternoon!

 

The Relationship Game

July 8, 2012

I had dinner with a friend last week – she is someone with whom I see eye-to-eye on most things, who shares my sense of humor and who I never see often enough. But when we do get together, it is as if no time at all has passed – as if we had seen each other just the previous week.

After a lovely summer dinner and an incredible bottle of rose, our conversation turned to relationships – both of us are eyeballing our 25th wedding anniversaries. What happens, we wondered….to the fire? We know it’s still there – we are both fortunate to be with husbands that we love and adore and who  love and adore us back…but where is the spark part? For instance – last weekend, my husband was doing some long-overdue repairs in our vestibule and I was kind of assisting (well, ok – I was watching !).  At one point I thought I might be a little bit in the way, physically, because our vestibule is incredibly tiny, probably built by elves, I think. And he says to me (very sweetly, I might add) “No, no – it’s fine – you’re not a distraction.” So I happily sat down to continue to watch him work and be ready to lend a hand…..but his words were ringing in my ear…”not a distraction”….to be honest, I felt a bit let down – I used to be nothing but a distraction!

Now, of course I was making too much of this – almost as if I was in high school…but the basic idea of not being a distraction was bugging me. Ironically, my friend began to talk about how her husband gets so focused when he is on a project that he is literally vacant – in every sense of the word. He doesn’t hear her or see her – she could be naked and running around with a bowl of fruit on her head and he wouldn’t notice (and by the way – she is one very beautiful woman!). So we  laughed together about this for a moment…then I said, I understood that you can’t keep a raging bonfire of passion blazing every single day, all day long – like you do in the beginning of a romance but  – and she chimed in at the exact moment and said “…want to be desired, sometimes.” Not as a wife, not as the mother of his children – but as the young thing that first captured his heart. And yet – they DO feel that way about us – we’ve both experienced it from time to time. Both us make a daily effort with clothing, we run a brush through our hair and swipe a quick spot of lipstick on- neither one of us is running around in sweatpants or pyjamas.

Her take on relationships is this: Women view a relationship as though it was a garden. You tend and nurture that garden and watch it grow. Men, on the other hand, view relationships like a board game. Wife on the red square, Kids on the blue square, House on the green square, Parents on the yellow square  and Job in the middle of the board. So – maybe it’s just that – Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars, as the best-selling book says. Women want to tend a garden while Men are trying to stay in the game of life.

Here’s an idea – maybe once  in a while – they could play their board game in our garden?