When I’m old and gray, and you’re bald and still handsome, this is one of the points of our lives I will look back upon and wish we could do over. Not the college days, not the early marriage years, and certainly not the early parenting years. (I happen to like sleep, thankyouverymuch.) This middle-aged time of working out the details of life.
Our current lives aren’t, by any means, stressless and idyllic. There are too many stains on the couch and dings in the wall. There are too many piles sitting on the counters and frantic rushing to make it to the band concert or ball practice or evening class on time. There are moments when I wonder what we’ll eat (not “if,” but “what” because I have to keep feeding these people I live with, for Pete’s sake!). I wonder how we’ll afford both kids’ college educations and how much longer our cars or washing machine or dishwasher will hold out. I wonder when I’ll get a job. I wonder when the pace of your job will slow to manageable. No, this time of our lives isn’t perfect; your morning back pain that lasts until bedtime and my hips that have to be popped into place each morning tell me we are both far from perfect.
But I do know this: perfect is overrated, and I kind of like messy! Being messy means being real. It means letting your junk hang out of its trunk in literal and proverbial ways. It’s a cliché, I know, but the love I have for you gets better – and more REAL – with time. (The reasons clichés are clichés is because they’re true.) It’s far from the polished perfect I dreamed of as a girl, and I’m so very thankful for that!
Your love is REAL for me and it becomes more real every day. You make it real in the way you seek me out for a hug when you arrive home from work each night. It’s real when you clean the dishes after dinner even after a long day at work. It’s real when you tell me to go for my dreams and promise to be on the other side no matter how things turn out. It’s real when you roll over in bed and spoon with me. It’s real when you walk that dog of ours that I know you weren’t overly eager to adopt (and it turns out you love him anyway). It’s real when you hold my hand at church and give me the sort of glance that reminds me of the singular biggest gift God has ever bestowed upon me: salvation with you.
I could write a book (!) about the ways you have loved me, and a sequel about the ways your love has shown me redemption and reconciliation and restoration. In fact, I am writing a book about us. It isn’t one that anyone can hold or flip through, but it’s a book we will get to read out loud to each other one day, later. When I’m old and gray, and you’re bald and still handsome. And still mine.