(written September 2014)
By the ripe old age of 19, I'd given up dating. Six months had gone by in my plans to figure out a career in which I could support my solitary life. A mutual friend practically shoved me and this sweet man together. He knew we belonged with one another. Poor fella, our bow-legged friend, Grannie said he couldn't hedge a hog in a ditch, has had four divorces. I wish he would have had the success in his own matchmaking he had in ours. Grannie told me how she'd prayed for a good husband for me. I don't remember apprising Grannie of my plans to remain alone. She and God as co-conspirators trumped what I had in mind, and a what a funny delivery person He arranged for the news.
Here we are at a family reunion, 1983. I thought my mother would blow a gasket when she found out Mr. A was nearly ten years old than I. No, she told me she'd once dated a man seven years her senior. I
The series ended.
Three months after our wedding we started a baby. Three years later, another. He was there the moment they exited my womb, he helped each move away from our home when the appointed day came, and he was there for them every day between. In those days we buried Grannie, all our parents, my best friend, breast cancer be damned, and one of my brothers. There were a couple of minor surgeries for me, one medical crisis with our older son, and both boys kept us busy with stitches, glue, casts, eyeglasses, a playground scuffle, a call from the principal about a dress code revolt. I can think of more but recall Mom's wise words, it doesn't pay to tell everything you know.
And we made it this far. This is my favorite picture of me and Mr. A. I'm one who prefers to aim and shoot at others and more often than not I'll successfully evade being in the crosshairs of anyone looking down a scope at me. This day, though, I asked our older son to shoot us. Mr. A might not appreciate me telling this, but the reason we are laughing is he had just playfully pinched my bottom. He's fairly reserved in public, on the shy side when we were first dating. He seemed to overcome this in the ensuing years.
Goodness, it seemed like aging greatly accelerated the next decade. Here we are at our older son's wedding, and next year, God willing, we'll have a similar picture at our baby boy's wedding.
There is an intensity in young love and an intense beauty in more seasoned love. Two become one both instantly and over time. When tears are shed after lovemaking because both know this sweetness will one day come to an end...
If I were to have a tombstone, "I was loved" would be sufficient. I don't want one, though, for our ashes which will be mingled. I want them released in the Matanzas River in St. Augustine. My older son mentioned having somewhere to go in memorial. I don't want my descendants standing in one place thinking we are "there." I rather like the idea of resurrecting together from the ocean, miraculously being called back together, holding the hand of my best friend en route to eternity.
Mr. A has played this song for me several times recently. Its message covers the meantime.
Hold On Love