“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.”
― Robert Fulghum, True Love
It is February, a mostly gray month dedicated to love. For some reason, I have been thinking about those yucky, pastel “conversation hearts” candies in the flat, red boxes we used to get from our friends in elementary school on Valentine’s Day. Remember those chalky wintergreen candies? There is nothing like a pink candy heart with hubba hubba! printed on it to initiate the gag reflex in anyone over age ten, right?
My grandfather never let the holiday go by without presenting all seven of his grandchildren small heart-shaped boxes of Russell Stover chocolates purchased at the Drug Store. He was diabetic for most of his life, and I think he lived vicariously through us every February 14th as he watched us open our shiny foil hearts full of chocolate and get busy. He has been gone a long time, but I still miss him and think of him a lot around Valentine’s Day. He was my biggest fan and my very first Valentine.
I have been married for a really long time. He continues to be the “half full” to my “half empty” when I find the world too complicated and gray. We find the humor in the Jared jewelry and tandem bathtub ads on TV and dream up new ways to embarrass our grown children. Sometimes, we eat Sunday night dinner in front of the TV and watch “60 Minutes” together the way we did when we were newlyweds in the years before we felt morally obligated to teach two children table manners. We both try hard not to be impossible to live with and the life we share is comfortable and mostly sane. In this cold world, we keep each other warm. We share the same history and the same children and a past full of memories that span the fifty shades between just plain awful and fabulous that couples who’ve been married a long time do. We’ve attended a lot of marriages that started with a bang and the tinkling of glasses and hope. We’ve seen a lot of marriages end in the whimpering, drawn out way that love between good people usually does, too.
So here’s what I know. Nobody will ever write a smarmy love song about us or ask us to star in any commercials that include bathtubs or sunsets. But our system, whatever it is, works. Why would we mess with it now?
Especially in the grayness of February.