The Many Stages of Love
When you are a young couple you’re so busy collecting things; furniture, dishes, friends, apartments, classes, houses, kids and of course bills from all the before mentioned items. Your worries are about the kids, career choices, imagined insults, your looks and of course mostly bills.
Time moves on, your kids are out driving around dating, and you sleep with one eye open until their car pulls into the driveway and then you instantly fall off into a deep sleep. Soon a bit later your kids are in love and you’re mending broken hearts that they think will never heal, but they do. You give them advice that they feel is worthless but you want to spare them the heartache and mistakes you made.
Soon they are off on their own and the house that was too small just the previous year is too big. You miss the counters full of dishes and never being able to get minute of peace for yourself. You miss the 15 pairs of shoes at the back door, half you don’t know who they belong. Everything is quiet and you have all the time in the world; you are lost!
So what do you do? You make busy time! You start tearing off wallpaper in their rooms and you find little clues that throw you back in time quicker than Dr. Who’s Tardis. You discover what the colour of the carpet is finally as there are no clothes piles on the floor. One little patch of blue paint is a memory of Star Wars bedding and their original toys, that if you kept would have worth big dollars. Ed takes the off the window frames for sanding and there’s another little patch but this time it’s a peachy orange. For some unknown reason to you burst into tears and only your husband hugging you and pushing you out of the room stopping the sobs. You are shocked that you are taking it so hard and it takes you a long time to move on.
Next, your girls start to leave and there is no fighting for our one bathroom, no screaming that someone used their special soap, or who used all the hot water. There’s no comments like; “Please mother tell me that you are not going to wear that to work today! Or He’s a great guy really Mom, you just have to get to know him!” They leave, marry and your prayers at night is that they have found someone that love’s them as much or loves them. That they will be able to keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables without too much struggle. Life marching on, no that’s wrong, its starts to run away from you.
The house is still full of stuff and at this stage of your life; you realize that it is truly just stuff. The kids call for recipes, to cry on your shoulder and sometimes to borrow money when times are tough.
The grandchildren start to arrive and you are genuinely shocked at just how much you instantly fall head over heels in love with them. As much as if, they too came from your womb and their hurts and worries become your own to carry.
Everyone’s lives are full now. There’s hockey, soccer and riding lessons, friends to play with and birthday parties to attend. Your children’s call are full of missing teeth, school work challenges and young hearts that are broken and are in need of mending. Nannie’s & Papa’s house is boring now unless they bring their IPods.
The house now echoes again with emptiness. The dog wakes you up in the morning before the alarm goes off at 6am, her stomach a better clock than the plastic one on the table. Its just you and him and the dog and your focus is on each other if you’re lucky. You see your love with blinders off, warts and all.
Now your biggest worry is that he will leave you – no not for another woman – but his health will take him away and you will be alone for the first time in your life. Your talks are real and true all BS removed. After so many years we know everything about each other, a look tells a complete conversation, no words needed.
You are both in bed and he’s not feeling well; tossing and turning, moaning in his sleep and you start to pray, Please God not tonight – don’t take him from me please!. You are lying there in a bed that you shared with him for 40 years, staring at the same ceiling that has been over your heads for almost the same length of time. Hot, slow tears fill your eyelashes and slowing build up and run over your crow’s feet and into your ears. You quietly wipe them away with your bed sheets not leaving any mascara stains, as you did before. When you lost your mother. When you lost your father. When you lost good friends.
You lie there beside the man you have loved since you were seventeen and pray once again; not tonight Lord, please not tonight!
He is snorting now and you move in to spoon him. Your heart feels like it will burst and is so heavy you can feel it being caught up in your twisting guts. He mutters; “Honey you’re a furnace tonight can you move over.” Even in a sleep haze, his hand reaches behind him to find yours. He doesn’t want you to feel hurt, even now. Holding his hand in this awkward pose but not wanting to let go, you finish your prayers for everyone else you love and fall off to sleep. The angels hear one more time from your foggy mind before descending into a dream; not tonight Lord, please not tonight.
Before you know it, the dog is pulling on your bed sheet and we both pull our bodies out of bed. Your fella, your love, your life now sits down at the computer getting his pills ready and starting his favorite game. It’s going to be a slow day, the kind I love, as it’s raining out and no weeding. He smiles at you from half open eyes and says; “I need a coffee baby quickly.” You smile back saying; “What’s the matter you got a piano tied to your ankle!” He laughs and you are out in the kitchen sink filling up the kettle looking out at the backyard watching the dog chase the cat next door. Looking up at the rain clouds and you say to yourself and some mornings you say it aloud in almost a command. “Not today Lord, Please not today!” Turning back to the stove and the burner going to the cupboards for coffee and sugar the kettle whistling. You return to your man smiling and place the cup on the table. You see the monk’s cap that is ever growing but you adore and lean down to kiss it wrapping your arms gently around his neck. He says: “Careful Honey I have a great score. I don’t want to lose a man!” His eyes never leaving the computer screen but his cheek pushes your arm.
You turn to straighten up the room and one more time you repeat your prayer, one that you will repeat a thousand times today; “Not today please God, not today!”