Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Recalling Young Love at Midlife
"The sweetest thing your dad did for me was when he caught my flight from LA to Manila. I was on vacation and he was on Spring Break from his remote boarding school, going back to Manila. I was thrilled to get a window seat in Economy Class, at the rear of the plane, near the lavatory. He was flying First Class. After take-off, he went down to my seatmate and asked, 'Would you like to exchange seats?'
The very dark brown man, clutching his brown briefcase, with a man's diamond-studded ring to proclaim wealth and supposed stature, snapped, 'Bakit saan ka ba naka-upo?'(Where the @*!! do you sit?)
'Sa First Class po,' your daddy said.
And the very brown man with a diamond ring sprang up, still clutching his briefcase, almost sprinted up the aisles to First Class--enjoying the whole flight, food, and service.
(Customs Officer ba siya?)
Your daddy, on the other hand, camped out with me, in the rear of the plane, near the lavatory, eating from melamine bowls covered with Cling-wrap. . ."
This story I like to tell my kids over and over because it was a moment of young love that was pure and simple and sweet. A time when my husband and I were young and strong, when we didn't know what arthritis was, and when we thought the world was all about just us.
But my loving husband never fails to put an end to my fairy-tale by declaring to my audience, "Yeah, and mom was pissed and asked why I didn't give HER my First Class Seat!"
I would always pinch his chubby cheeks and say, "I get it! I get it!"
I wish I could pull up a picture of that day. We were both 17 and there were no cellphones, video games, and we talked and played cards most of the time. My husband was a hundred pounds lighter and I had very thin, over-plucked eyebrows and severely layered hair. But all our pictures are in a bin in Manila, along with many of the things we left behind.
My husband is now in Manila, hoping to fix many business plans, after an abrupt lay-off from work. This led to his realization that the way to go in USA (and anywhere in life) is really building your own business as employment security is uncertain and 9 to 5 work is unsatisfying at midlife.
I miss him now that he is away. I used to tell him not to send me flowers on Valentine's Day because they were expensive. He always did, anyway. So now that he actually will not send me flowers, I think of all the gifts he gave me. . .and I am most thankful for his kindness. Many naysayers predicted that our marriage wouldn't last. After almost 17 years, I say to them "eat your heart out!" (with my thumb on my nose, wriggling my other fingers, meaning belat in Tagalog) My husband is the biggest blessing in my life and we have hurdled speculation after speculation.
He has seen my innards at birth (after birth) of our children--wala na akong itatago sa kanya (I have nothing to hide from him anymore). My sweet but clueless Lamaze coach, though he slept through labor, brought me a cheesebruger after gruelling labor. We have secrets to identify each other if we were in another time, another body, and made plans to find each other in heaven. I am able to sleep through his infamous snoring and I still remind him to diet and mind his manners. He has lived through my anger and angst.
I thank the Lord for sweet love but I thank Him more for midlife love--a time for quiet, mature, persevering affection that has weathered many trials and shared many joys. This is what my Jesuit professor lectured: "Love is a commitment, not a feeling."
And though I beg to disagree, (I think love IS a feeling), love needs commitment and hope to live. Each layered experience adds character and depth to the painting that has become our family, with colors that I cannot mix nor buy at the OOPS section of Home Depot.
How is your midlife love?
Posted by TOW Blog at 9:05 AM