The definition of love is quite simple: an intense or deep affection, a romantic or sexual attachment to another person. It is both a noun and a verb. The word itself is readily used to describe something or someone we take pleasure in. Perhaps its most incredible quality is its ability to challenge, and often conquer, its counterpart hate. Love is just that powerful.
The complexities of love are that it’s a choice and a commitment. It takes time, requires respect, commands communication, and trust had better come standard. I’m of the belief that love is a gift. Not everyone will be fortunate enough to experience it – some people lose it, some just never find it. But Grandma Connie and Grandpa Bud are two people who not only found it, but they fostered it, put faith into it, and continue to have it today.
Although I have witnessed but half of the 58-years my Grandpa and Grandma have been loving each other, simplicities and complexities alike, I can discern that their love, rather their true love, has defied the odds and stood the test of time.
It was recently explained to me that a person changes every ten years or so. Typically, their values stay intact with what they’ve always believed, but as a person they grow and evolve differently with each passing year. Since then I have wondered how couples manage to stay together for decades – what have they accomplished that other couples simply can’t, or won’t? How do we ensure that when we change, we welcome this growth, but that we change with our partner? Now I can’t pretend to know the details of the work my Grandpa and Grandma have obviously dedicated to their love life, but I do commend them for all their efforts and commitment to one another. It’s the kind of love that the romantic in me looks-on with admiration and expectation for my own future. It’s also the kind of love that the small logical part of my heart recognizes as a layered love.
Allow me to reveal their wonderful layers.
In 2008, sometime in between Grandma’s 71st birthday and Great Grandpa Babe’s 95th, Nonna and I sat side-by-side in Northern Italy. Beyond our tour bus’s oversized windows laid enchanting, picturesque hills of Tuscany. I’m not sure if it was the romanticism this land evoked, the love letters and poetry our tour guide was regularly passing me, the wine we undoubtedly enjoyed with our lunch, or perhaps a combination of the three, but Nonna got to talking about life and love, and I happily hung on every single word. She smiled, and even giggled that grandma-giggle as she told me about her and Grandpa’s unexpected first date. Apparently Grandma accepted a date with some other lucky lad who was pining for her love, but he was too nervous to come to the door to meet her mom and dad so his friend, my brave and handsome Grandpa, went to the door for him. It was here on this amazing trip that I learned fate really does have a little something to do with true love.
Fate is the layer that brought them together, and it’s certainly the layer that pulls at your heartstrings in a “they were meant to be” sort of way. But Grandma and Grandpa’s true love is filled with fun and consumed with chemistry, too.
Chemistry is often described as passion, a deep desire, a spark. Boil it down and you’ll find that chemistry is rooted in and outwardly professed with affection. Affection is the most conspicuous expression of love. It’s important to show our partner that we love him or her; we should hold him and touch him and never think twice about being as close as we can.
As a child my cousin Ashley and I would play dress-up in Grandma’s long, silky nightgowns. It never dawned on my innocent mind that these fabulous “dresses” were her lingerie; I only cared that we looked like beautiful ladies who could rule the world. As an adult, I consider that lace and silk-stuffed drawer the spark that a couple works to keep ignited. And I see that Grandma has been Grandpa’s world all this time.
When I close my eyes to think fondly of my Grandparents, I see smiles and I hear laughter. Now I’ve never done anything for 58-years, but I got to believe that if he’s still having fun goosing her booty, and she’s still laughing about it – well then, they’ve got that vital thing called chemistry.
An affinity to one another is essential, especially after years upon years of matrimony, but a layered love like this is also about an emotional connection, a special bond, a friendship. This is the part of love that keeps couples strong when the fate seems distant and the chemistry is out of reach.
I wholeheartedly believe that my grandparents are each other’s best friends. They travel together, play games together, have made houses homes together, and have spent a lifetime raising one big ole family, together. They made four children, who made 10 children, who have made 15 children so far. I said it before, and I’ll say it again, love is a powerful thing.
Now, Grandpa set the bar pretty high, and Grandma is pretty wonderful, but may we all strive to have a layered love like theirs.
Here’s to fate, to chemistry, to friendship and to family; and if I ever get to meet the man who chickened out on his date with Nonna, I’ll give him a grateful hug and wow him with the greatest love story there’s ever been.