I’m 53 years old, an age described by wishful thinkers as “the new 33,” which it would be if my vision, hearing and muscle tone would only cooperate. On the plus side, living for more than half a century has provided me with lots of experiences, many of which have pierced my heart, letting the blood rush to my head instead. This provides a practical wisdom, the kind that lets you know love when you see it, and even when you don’t.
This does not sound very romantic, and is not likely to get me the kind of candy I like on February 14th. But real love has little to do with candy even though imported Swiss Chocolate is close. For example, I know my husband loves me more now than he did when we first met, twelve years ago, although at that point I could actually wear a pair of low-cut jeans without public snickering involved.
So I’ve switched to cargo pants without regrets or recriminations. If only love was such a simple act. There are some people that I love who will not love me back no matter what I do. There are some people that I love who have so many problems that I have to love them from afar. I love some people when they’re angry and some people when they’re downright ugly. Love is most keenly felt during adversity.
For example, this Christmas my husband took our 13-year-old daughter and me to Paris. It was a bumpy flight and when we finally landed, my daughter promptly vomited, sans barf bag, all over the floor of the cabin. As she retched, the pungent aroma filled the aisles of the packed plane. Immediately, the airline pilot’s voice wafted reassuringly over the intercom, explaining that the exit door wouldn’t open, but, not to worry, he was looking around for a mechanic to fix it, and we would probably only be stuck where we were another 20 or 30 minutes. Without air conditioning.
My daughter’s vomit lay in a sodden mass at my feet and on my boots. As I held her head and smoothed her ashen brow, I thought about novice lovers and new parents who anticipated high romance and heart-warming antics in return for their devotion. At my age, I knew there was only this; true love that floods you in the most unexpected and sometimes undelightful ways.
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