Let’s talk about love. Just a little bit. On Saturday mornings, I have a routine. I sleep in (schedule and dog needs permitting), get up and enjoy some coffee and oatmeal with raspberry jam and sliced almonds, and set about trying to organize the mountains of crap that have accumulated in my house into some semblance of order. While I clean, I listen to Whad'Ya Know? with Michael Feldman on the radio. It’s a quiz show, for those not in the know, and last weekend one of the questions went something like this:
Researchers recently discovered that people who have been married a long time are generally: a) less happy; b) more happy; or, c) if you have to ask this question, you have never been married.
Care to venture a guess? I actually guessed correctly: more happy. And I think I know why. Because by the time you’ve been married a ‘long time,’ several things have probably transpired: the toxic friends that constantly tried to corrupt your spouse have died of liver failure or lung cancer…your spouse has developed arthritis and can no longer operate a video game controller…your spouse has groused and bitched and gossiped so much they burned out their vocal cords…your spouse has developed some kind of illness that has turned them into less of an asshole because now they’re all reflective and every time they fart Mitch Albom puffs out and stains the couch. Also, you are now long beyond wanting to invest any time into landing a new ‘life partner,’ because the rest of your life is maybe ten more years and frankly, who has the kind of time to sift through annoying first dates when you’ve got a colostomy bag and only ten more Thanksgivings on deck? Not to mention you’re … how to put this delicately…well, your special girl or boy parts have probably seen better days. You’ve basically given up, because with your blood pressure, making a fuss is just not worth it anymore.
Okay, okay, I’m being a little cynical. You have also weathered many storms together. You have raised a family, or a series of dogs and inside jokes and home remodeling projects together. (Don’t worry mom, my girl parts are still in working order. There’s still hope.) There is, if you’re lucky, a deep and abiding feeling of affection for the person you have battened down the hatches and celebrated victories and analyzed thousands of movies and current events and family milestones with.
My grandparents had the kind of love affair you see on TV and either cry or get bitter over. After my grandfather died of cancer in 1997, my grandma spent years signing birthday cards just like this: Love, Grandma and :-). She couldn’t bring herself to sign his name, but she couldn’t bring herself to sign just her name, either. She lit a candle in his memory before every meal, and I have it on good authority that they still enjoyed “special alone time” long after they received their AARP cards in the mail.
They were a shining example of the “C’mon, Get Happy!” vote. Perhaps they’re actually in the minority, perhaps it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and walks on the beach, but they sure did make it look easy. So here's to the wisdom and happiness in love that age brings. It's almost enough to compensate for the wrinkles and that colostomy bag.