My parents have been married for over 40 years now. I should probably know the exact number but quite frankly it isn’t something we’ve ever celebrated so I’m not sure. I do know their anniversary date though, December 26th, the day after Christmas. I know this because as the story is told, apparently they had been dating for quite some time when Dad and she went to his parent’s house for Christmas. He, being the youngest of four, was tormented by his sisters that day with “why in the world aren’t you married yet,” and “what exactly are you waiting for?” This led to him romantically taking my mother to the JOP the next day and tying the knot then and there to shut everyone up. No dress, no flowers, no yummy cake, just a couple of “I do’s” that have lasted for the long haul.
There have been many times I’ve questioned their marriage, and quite frankly wondered how one hasn’t killed the other yet. My dad is about as stubborn as one person can get and mom lives in world where she seems to hear and see things that no one else ever hears or sees. Like last week when she reminded me of the time I wanted to drop out of high school and marry my then boyfriend. Something that I can promise you, never, ever was a consideration in my mind nor a topic discussed until now.
But somehow the two of them have been able to look past the others faults, argue and then let it go, even find a peace in retirement where they are able to share time in the house together without driving each other insane.
Last month, I got yet another emergency call from home, this time for my mom. She had what they thought was a bacterial infection that had gotten into her blood stream and from there to her lungs and heart. She was in ICU and though my dad kept telling me there was no reason to come home, after a phone call to my mom’s nurse I hopped on the very next plane. It was the nurse that informed me that my mom thought she was dying. When I asked if the doctor thought she was dying the nurse replied, “she’s real sick honey.” Three red eye flights later I was in the hospital by her bedside.
If you read one of my most recent posts you would know that I had just done this trip two months ago for my dad. Aware that he still wasn’t 100% I knew aside from mom needing me, he too was in need of help. I had envisioned spending my days at the hospital with mom while dad rested at home. I was wrong. That man didn’t miss one set of visiting hours the entire time she was in ICU. Dead tired, with a headache and zero energy, he drug himself to that hospital room day after day, not listening to a damn word my sister or I said. It was through this experience that for this first time I realized, they don’t just tolerate each other, they really do love each other.
As she got better and moved out of ICU they began talking about any help she might need when getting home. Dad couldn’t understand why she would need any help at all. The therapist explained to him that initially she may need assistance with getting around the house, chores and such. To this dad informed her, “those things won’t be a problem, I can pull the Coleman grille out of the garage and she can cook dinner from the couch. The ironing board will fit perfectly by her chair, and if she needs a bath we’ve got a baby pool I can put out in the back yard and turn the hose on.”
Well hell, that's gotta be love!
Well hell, that's gotta be love!