For the record, I have only ever written one post regarding Valentine's Day. I was with my current husband and the post was about how anti-Valentine's Day I was and had always been. It is just one of those things where I feel like it is a holiday that is overdone, commercialized, and unnecessary because honestly, we should be doing a little Valentine's Day each and every day. However Valentine's Day holds some importance with my husband so last year, for the first time, we made solid Valentine's Day plans for dinner. We never made it to dinner because on route to dinner, I required a stop at the Granby Fire Department and a subsequent ride to the local emergency room. Long story that I would rather forget!
This year we are planning on doing something, but never got to the point of actually making a reservation, mostly my fault because I don't want to jinx it after last year and we are expecting yet another major snowstorm in Massachusetts, so I think we are going to wing it. Honestly, whatever my husband wants to do is fine with me. I just want to be with him.
This morning I was puttering around the house doing my usual "get my body ready for the day" routine and The Today Show caught my attention. They had cameras going at the Rockefeller Plaza skating rink where some popular female singer was singing some beautiful love song that you have all heard on the radio. There were twenty-five couples skating around on the ice and then all of a sudden, one person from each couple dropped on one knee and proposed marriage.
OK, typically I would think how lame this was. Not because I am not a romantic, I really am. But just because of how corny and public it all was. Instead, I started bawling like a baby. It was ridiculous. Molly (my dog) sat up and was staring at me wondering what was going on. And I kept crying.
I realized that I was so touched by the whole thing because I spotted several couple on the ice skating rink during the mass proposal event that were obviously older than the traditional marrying age that we are accustomed to hearing about. Couple that looked like they were in their 40's, 50's, and 60's. For those of you who do not know, I was 42 when I married Chuck and he was 56. Not a first marriage for either of this, and maybe not for some of those couples on television either.
Seeing or hearing about later in life marriages always make my heart sing. And that is what brings me to this Valentine's Day post today.
I frequently hear from people about how lucky I am to have met my husband. From what I have experienced and from what others have told me, it gets harder to meet a guy like my husband (or a wife like myself!) as you get older. I would agree with that, on all counts. It IS harder and I AM lucky. I married a faithful, loyal, handsome, hard-working, hysterically funny, kind, compassionate, humble, and unique man. I am attracted to him on all levels more than I have ever been attracted to any human being.
He is my best friend.
And, luck had nothing to do with it.
While I will tell you that I think he was placed in my path by God (we did meet at church!), luck was not a factor in the development of our relationship and subsequent marriage. We have this beautiful marriage because both of us took risks and overcame fears; fears that we each carried for years and years. I obviously will not speak of his fears and his previous hurts, but for me, it was substantial.
When I found myself in the midst of a crisis, my first marriage, that seemed like it was going to destroy me, I found myself a church and also a community. I took a risk on getting to know new people and let them in, just a little at a time. The same church where I years and years later met Chuck. Once I left my first marriage, I worked on myself, on knowing who I was. I worked on being strong and whole again.
I eventually took more risks. I dated. Contrary to what some people around me believed, I was NOT looking to jump into another relationship. I was looking to have some fun for the first time in years. And when I decided that I was ready, I delved into a relationship and I fell for the wrong person, yet again. And I decided that I was done with dating for a while.
Then I met Chuck. I wasn't looking to ever get married again or even get seriously involved. But we became friends and I was so drawn to him, that we oftentimes found ourselves together in the same room, in the same space. When we started dating, I had to deal with quite a bit of anxiety because I did not want to risk being hurt again. I didn't think I could completely trust again. My heart had been so battered and torn that I thought fending and caring for myself was all I could manage. There was no room for anyone else, there was no energy to love again.
But I did. I had to work on trusting again and making myself vulnerable. Eventually, I completely let him in. We talked a lot. I told him my fears and he told me his. I healed.
Besides those fears and insecurities we originally had, we worked very hard at our relationship. We both have had to make substantial sacrifices to be together. One, that early on in our relationship, I didn't think I could make and almost left because of it. And he took on the burden of getting involved with someone that has a severe, chronic illness. An illness that leaves the future uncertain. But people don't always know about those things, the compromises and the sacrifices. The things that luck has nothing to do with, but love, commitment, and devotion do.
So why am I getting into all this today? Because two really good people, who had given up on love and despite the odds, not only found each other, but made it work. At a time when many people on Valentine's Day have already been married ten, fifteen, or thirty years, our journey is still just beginning. At a time when many people are sitting home on Valentine's Day as a single person either loving that fact, or hating it, I am here to tell you that if you want love in the form of a lifelong partner and companion, it is never too late for that and you are certainly never too old. But that being said, it does require risk and it does require working through the fear. It does require putting yourself out there. And I am also here to tell you that when it is the right person, it is all worth it.
And on this Valentine's Day, if you do not have a romantic partner and/or don't wish to have one, I hope that you remember that despite the media attacks on our senses, love is not about diamond rings, sharing a bed or dates. It is about the love you hold in your heart and the love that others hold for you. Its about sharing your love with others and being open to the love they have to offer you. So to those in my life, my husband, stepchildren, parents, brother, sisters, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and co-workers, you are special and I love you.
Happy Valentine's Day.