Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lasting Love

I'm sitting in my van. In Mom and Dad's drive. I'm waiting for my sons to load in. Two are charging down the hill. Two are coming from the side yard. One has yet to show.

And Mom and Dad are on the porch. They're above me. They're smiling and waving down.

I smile and wave back. Something about seeing them standing there tugs my heart. It's something about the normalcy of it all. It's something about the everydayness of today. They're standing there, a lifetime of commitment and love, standing close, lives melding into one as they have for years.

And the everydayness peels back.

 And I'm touched deep by the beauty of that longstanding love.

Mom and Dad recently celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. To prepare for their celebration, my sisters and I looked through stacks of photo books from Mom's cedar chest. There they were. Mom and Dad. Peering back at us from pages gone yellow from age. Their early years. Dad in military uniform. Mom in their first house, her belly big and round with me. Then there are tiny girls nestled in arms. Jumbled on laps. First one. Then two. Three little girls. Then four. There were birthdays and Christmases and Easters with white bonnets and lace.

 But there were ordinary days, too.

And I understood, looking through those books, that those ordinary days weren't really ordinary at all.

It's not that they didn't struggle. There was a war. A broken steel industry. Prayers to pull a child through dark nights.

But they made it.

They were solid.

Through it all they held tight.

Through it all they danced.

The last boy arrives and climbs right in. Seat belts snap and there's a van full of noise. We're settled tight and ready to go. I start the van and back down the drive.

But I glance at Mom and Dad one more time. His arm slips around her. She shifts and presses in. They're not waving anymore. They're talking. Something gentle passes between them.

What they have is beautiful.

It's extraordinary.

It's a blessing that belongs to them.

But today, like always, I carry it with me, too, as I go.

Andrew Petersen - Dancing in the Minefields

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