About a month ago a I was driving back to our house with a much younger friend who told me that my husband (Joe) and I are very fortunate. He listed some specific ways in which we’re fortunate and it hit me hard. He was so right! Normally I wouldn’t even mention age. I’m a true believer that when it comes to friendship age just isn’t a factor, but in the context of that conversation youth was important.
I remember being his age, Joe and I starting out like he is with his girlfriend. We didn’t have a lot, but we were working hard to build on what we did have. I remember being in awe of those whose accomplishments I felt I’d never achieve. I remember making goals based on the lives of one couple in particular.
They had it so together (still do as far as I’m concerned). Great house, careers, kids, a dog, stability, talent, love for each other. Everything I wanted for Joe and I. I could see that their life wasn’t idyllic, their marriage wasn’t perfect and yet it was the imperfection that made their life together enviable. It seemed they weathered whatever storm came their way. Granted, I watched from the outside, idolizing and trying to emulate a wife I truly wanted to be. She treated her kids like humans who were capable of rational thought, not babies. She’s always been outspoken, never not sharing her opinion. She scared me, still does a little because I know she’d never hold back in telling me I’m being an idiot. I still feel like I’m only able to say the most ridiculous vapid shit around her, not because she makes me feel that way, because she’s so much cooler than me. I seriously adore her. I adore both of them, I adore their relationship. Had Joe and I not been able to look to them during some very rough times (generally me being selfish and imbalanced) I’m not sure we’d still be together. I’d often tell myself, if they can make marriage work so can we.
And now we have it. A working marriage. Joe and I have that life we wanted. We have a great home, careers, a kid, a dog, stability, talent, and love for each other. We have a life where the things that make us worry most are miniscule in comparison to what our parents dealt with at our age. We worked hard, we achieved what we set out to do, we made a happy life for ourselves.
Happy. Not something I say very often. Although not always, I’m generally happy. I can only hope that maybe Joe and I have encouraged someone else. Someone just starting their lives together. My friend certainly woke me up that day, telling me how lucky we are to have so much, especially when I was taking things for granted. He made me step outside myself and realize how much I now have that I always wanted. That conversation was tremendously valuable and I’ve thought of it often. Thanks Eric!
Last spring I had the pleasure of spending some time with the couple I’ve looked up to since I was 18 (23 years!!) I always savor that time because I don’t see them very often. After one of these meetings something very small, yet profound happened. I watched the two of them walk away down the street together. They grabbed hands at the exact same moment and continued walking down the street holding hands, talking, oblivious to anything but each other. I punched Joe in the arm and said “oh my God look” pointing. He smiled and went back to whatever it was he was doing, but I continued to watch and felt a couple of tears try to escape down my cheeks. It was so dammed sweet, not just aw cute sweet, sweetness that makes your heart soar. I quickly rubbed the tears away, in case they turned around. I couldn’t stop grinning.
I want another 22 years of happiness. I want Joe and I to naturally hold hands as we travel through life. I still smile and tear up when I think about that moment because two people I love are still so much in love and it gives me joy and hope that the love I feel for Joe now will continue to grow, blossom, and mature.
I want that for every couple, at every age.