Friday, February 14, 2014

I'll Take the Old Love

My daughters are 16 and 13 – old enough to have boyfriends/almost boyfriends whose presence at our house causes infectious laughter, unsolicited smiling and, after they leave, long, detailed conversations with their mother.

There is, in the air, the inimitable excitement that comes with the start of a new relationship.

“I want that,” my wife Missy said the other day, “that feeling you get when you first start dating someone…the anticipation and nervousness and excitement.”

She was joking, I’m sure, but there was some truth to it.

We’ve been together since August of 1990 when we met as college students working at a summer camp for children and adults with disabilities.

The atmosphere was electric – hours spent talking and laughing beneath a star-filled sky in the waning days of summer.

We thrived on the ability to wake up after only a few hours’ sleep, get through the work day and feel our fatigue lift as we headed toward another evening together.

There is an undeniable energy in getting to know someone – their likes and dislikes, what makes them laugh and smile, what irritates them.

A new relationship is fresh and uncharted, a blank canvas on which to paint the story of “us.”

I smiled at her comment, remembering our first days together so many years ago. And while I agree that the energy of “new love” was exciting, I much rather prefer the one we have now.

As anyone who has weathered both the sunny skies and ominous storms of a long-term relationship can attest, a deeper, more mature love is far more satisfying.

The positive emotional high of new love is a beautiful thing, I’ll grant you that, but it can never compare to one forged over time and tested by life’s challenges.

During our time together, Missy and I have endured financial struggles, separation caused by a job change, miscarriages, health issues and the loss of my parents.

We have brought three children into the world and raised them to the best of our ability, moved four times, lost and gained good friends and survived times when we still loved each other even though we may not have “liked” each other in the moment.

This melting pot of life, simmering over nearly two and a half decades, has yielded something truly special.

I know, without question, that I am fortunate to have someone in my life to share the good times and support me in the bad.

So, no offense to the new love, but I’ll take the old any day.

I’ll let kids have the emotional rollercoaster that comes with the former.

And I hope, when the ride comes to an end, that their melting pot has yielded the same results.

6 comments:

  1. Wonderful <3 brought tears to my eyes :)

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  2. Well said, John! Both Bruce and I loved this piece. As an "old love couple," we both agree that it's the long journey that defines love!

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  3. So happy to read your comment, Mary Jane, and glad you enjoyed the post. I hope you and Bruce - and the extended family - are all well. Please say hello to Bruce for me, and Ryan and Matt as well.

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  4. Great post and as someone who has enjoyed the company of a wonderful woman for over thirty years (just don't tell my wife); oh wait, that is my wife, I appreciate the ups and downs you note. I also occasionally do run-on sentences.

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  5. Don't worry, Doctor Zee. Your secret is safe with me.

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