Warm, gray, drizzly day, heavy with the promise of spring. Schubert string quartets playing softly on the stereo. Earl Grey steaming from my Mexican pottery mug. I watch as the pictures cycle through my digital picture frame on the counter, images of my son’s wedding this past summer. I feel the intensity of the gaze between him and his beloved, and I reflect on love and life.
I am privileged to have some of the letters my parents wrote to each other during WWII when my father was stationed in the South Pacific. They were newlyweds when my father was overseas, and the letters reflect their longing to be together and start their lives. My dad wrote: Remember our December, Darling? Cold, chilling to the bone, but it was ours to spend together. We shall have many Christmases together and watch many a new year begin.”
I, too, have known the fiery passion of young, married love, two hearts, two souls who look upon the world as a place of infinite possibilities they can shape with their desires. When they look at each other, they see their lives spreading out before them in directions of their choosing. It is a love of intense exhilaration. Even when the weariness of work and responsibilities sets in, they have only to look at each other to stir up the flame of passion again. Oh, young lovers, cherish this time and remember it, for it is precious.
My husband and I have been married for nearly forty years. I know we felt that excruciatingly sweet hopefulness that comes when two young lives face their beginnings as a couple, but so much of our life has passed that the fervor of that time is no longer tangible. Our love, though still intense, has been transformed by life into something gentler, perhaps more tender. I still feel like that young girl my sweetheart married, and I sometimes wonder who that old woman is staring back at me in the bathroom mirror each morning, but the exhilaration of planning our future together has diminished. Now our plans are not of what direction our life will take but of where we will vacation or when we will get to see our children and grandchildren.
Young lovers, don’t feel sad for us because that promise you felt as you said your vows is realized in us. When my son Matt was five, he was sitting on my lap and I remember this conversation:
Me: Matt, I love you very much.
Matt: I love you so much, too. I loved you even when I was a baby.
Me: Really? You remember loving me when you were a baby?
Matt: Yes, and I loved you even before I was born.
Me: That’s amazing! How do you know you loved me even before you were born?
Matt: Because I love you so much now, and it takes a long time to love someone that much.
Yes, it does take a long time to love someone that much. After all these years, I still wait at the door and blow my husband a kiss as he drives off to work, I still daydream about him while he’s away, I still greet him eagerly at the door when he returns. The fire of young love has not been doused; it just needs stirring up once in awhile.