September 27, 2011
Happily Ever After?
Once upon a time there was a girl that dreamed of falling in love with Mr. Right and living happily ever after.
She grew up and met a boy. He was cute and funny, and they could talk for hours. They began spending a lot of time together and when they weren’t together, they were thinking about the other. She made him feel like a hero and he made her feel special. It didn’t take long for them to fall in love. Their wedding day was perfect, except for the rain.
In one way, love was as she’d imagined. It was exciting– like going down a steep hill in a fast car.
Yet there were things she hadn’t imagined. She hadn’t imagined Mr. Right having girls that were friends, and that a powerful green-eyed monster would roost on her shoulder, ready to bare her claws at the hint of another’s perfume. She hadn’t realized that she would want some time apart from Mr. Right every now and then, or that he would get so upset about it. And he left dirty dishes all over the place, and she wore sweats at home. At first these things were easily ignored, then they became annoying.
Their love life was also different than she’d imagined. Instead of passionately desiring each other all the time, they seemed to desire each other at different times. Why was he always interested on the nights she had to get up early the next day? And when he came home after working a double shift, why didn’t he care that she had been laying in bed imagining what they would do when he got home? And who knew you could do it too much and get tired of it? They never got tired of it on TV.
In spite of all that, her heart still raced every time she heard his key in the lock, or glimpsed his face across the table from her.
Then they had a baby and on the way home from the hospital he said, “I feel like I have to drive really carefully, because my heart’s not inside of me anymore. It’s there in that car seat.”
The baby filled their lives, almost crowding them out. He slept, cried, ate and filled endless diapers. They got little sleep, rocked him even though they were hungry, changed endless diapers and constantly told him how special he was. And baby spit-up constantly colored their clothes. And the baby did nothing for them in return, but grasp their fingers and gaze into their eyes. It was the most difficult and the most joyful time of their lives. That was as close to perfect love as they ever got.
Their baby boy grew up and had a little girl of his own. One day, she and her grandma sat looking at the wedding pictures taken on a rainy day fifty years earlier.
“Didn’t you get bored being married to the same man for so long?” the granddaughter asked.
“Sometimes,” her grandma said. “And sometimes grandpa got bored with me.”
“Then you must not have fought too much, or you could never have lasted this long.”
“We fought enough,” her grandma said. “And sometimes we hurt each other a lot.”
“Fifty years is a long time to work so hard. Why didn’t you find someone else who would make you happier?”
“Who said it was work?” her grandma asked. “If it was work, I’d have left a long time ago. Besides, no one else could have made me happier.”
“It sounds like a lot of work.”
“I guess it depends on your perspective. Love’s not always easy and if you think it’s work, it is. But trying to make him happy doesn’t seem like work to me.”
Her granddaughter sniffed. “Well, it sounds too hard. I’ll find the right man to make me happy and if he doesn’t, I’ll just look for another one until I find the perfect love.”
To her surprise, the older woman threw back her head and laughed. “Honey, you’re in for some disappointment. Love is perfect, but to love perfectly you need to find someone who is perfect. And then you need to be perfect yourself, because the bad things in relationships don’t come from love. They come from people. So unless you’re perfect, don’t expect your love to be perfect.”
And so ends for now, the topic of love I’ve explored in my the previous three posts. Feel free to contribute your thoughts on the subject.