Thursday, March 25, 2010

Love, Honor, and Cherish

I love the fact that Alan and I are both "early arrivers" when it comes to airports and flying.  We're incredibly diligent about leaving extra time for long lines at check-in and security, "just in case." It's come in handy more than once, and I can honestly say we've never had to run to our gate to catch a flight, because we've always alloted for the extra time.

But, when things are running smoothly at the airport, we have a lot of extra waiting time.  Such was the case early last Saturday morning when we sat in the Las Vegas Airport, an hour ahead of schedule, waiting for our flight home.  We both tried to busy ourselves with our ipods and reading material.  But soon, the best entertainment walked up and sat down in the two seats across from us.  The hour flew by.

They were an older couple, probably in their mid sixties.  He sported a full head of white hair with matching goatee and carried a metal cane with jingling charms hanging from the handle (I couldn't see exactly what shape they resembled,  but I assumed they were for luck on his Vegas trip!).  He wore a black, untucked Harley Davidson t-shirt over a pair of wrinkled black pants.

Her strawberry-blonde dyed hair was clipped in a short pixie style.  Behind her thick, large glasses her make-up was expertly applied.  Her crisp, white, button-down blouse was neatly tucked into her elastic-waist jeans, and over it she wore a light denim jacket spotted with cute, multi-colored embroidered flowers.  Her jewelry included dangly, sparkly earrings and two gold chain necklaces.

But the couple's appearance was not what drew my attention.  There was something else that I noticed that made it impossible for me to look away:  She never stopped MOVING!!  EVER!! As soon as she sat down, she immediately popped back up, kneeling in front of her suitcase, opening zippers, rummaging around for her compact, then zipping back up again.

Then it was her large purse.  She zipped open a compartment, pulled out a roll of mints, popped one in her mouth, offered one to her husband (he declined), then replaced them back into her purse.  Then, back to the suitcase and "ZIP," another compartment produced two boarding passes.  She handed one to her husband and tucked the other in the outside pocket of her purse.

She left to get a drink after asking her companion if he wanted anything (he did not), returned, then proceeded to pour the contents of her paper cup into that of her own plastic sip container (obtained from her suitcase) that read "Grandma" in big letters on it's side.  She "ZIPPED" again and produced her cell phone, called her daughter and informed her of their estimated arrival time, then "ZIPPED" once more to return the phone and retrieve another mint.  Just watching her, I became completely exhausted!!

As all of this drink-transferring, mint-popping, and boarding-pass-producing was executed, there sat her husband, completely still.  In fact, he had only one gear -- PARK. While his wife zipped and fussed, this man sat with his cane in his lap, his arm lazily draped over the back of her chair, eyes closed.  When his wife would pause for a few brief seconds, he'd reach over and pat her back or squeeze her shoulder, all with his eyes still closed.  She'd lean in for a second, then pop back up again to attend to more zippering business.

Neither one was annoying the other, mind you.  In fact, they seemed perfectly content in each other's company.  They had clearly just spent an enjoyable vacation together and were now about to begin their journey home.  Together.  Despite their obvious differences, they appeared to be a perfect couple.  I couldn't stop looking at them.

I'm always so fascinated when I see an older pair like these two, because I so look forward to growing old with Alan.  He's a wonderful companion and I enjoy his company over anyone else's.  I've always said that I can't wait until we're both retired someday, rocking on the front porch, traveling together, and taking care of one another.  When I got my cancer diagnosis, one of the first things that popped into my head was that I might not get to enjoy those "golden years" with Alan. I was so relieved and thrilled when I learned that, in fact, I probably CAN.

But as I sat staring at my new friends at that airport gate, it occurred to me that those years are really already here.  Like that flighty woman with her crazy zippers, Alan takes care of me, too.

When I fall asleep on the plane and the flight attendant comes by with her drink cart, he gently puts down my tray table, picks out the exact crackers he knows I like from her basket and orders me a Diet Coke. He does this because he knows how much I need the sleep, but really hate to miss flight snack time! He never, ever complains when I (always!) over-pack, and instead insists on helping me remove my GINORMOUS suitcase off the baggage claim belt and onto the parking garage bus.

He makes coffee for me every morning, and on especially cold days he warms the cup beforehand with hot water, so the coffee won't cool too quickly once it hits the mug.  He takes our cockatiel, Vegas, out of her cage when she is squawking for him.  Then he gently places her on his shoulder while he works in his office.  He doesn't particularly love Vegas, but he knows that I do.   And he loves me, so onto his shoulder she goes.

He rearranges his busy work schedule so that he can attend every CT scan, PET scan, and oncologist appointment with me.  He brings a notepad with him to record everything the doctors say and asks important questions of which I never would've thought.

I've decided that the "growing old together" commences right on your wedding day. All of your life experiences together; your vacations, illnesses, and proxy Diet Coke-ordering begin the second after you say, "I do."   It's up to us to decide how we're going to rise to the occasion.  I love how completely Alan takes care of me, and I'm so honored to get to be the one to do the same for him.

As I sat pondering all of this in the Las Vegas airport that morning, I leaned over and rested my head on Alan's shoulder while he read his book.  Without looking up, his hand instinctively reached-up and began stroking my hair as he planted a kiss on the top of my head.  I glanced over at that sweet couple in front of me.   If that old, sloppy, white-goateed man had opened his eyes just once, I would've caught his attention and whispered to him, "Aren't we lucky?"

How about you?  How do you take care of your spouse/companion?  What sweet thing do they do for you?  I'd really love to know...

Thanks for Reading!

62 comments:

Krista said...

Aw.... this is really, really sweet.

I hope that someday I have someone to take care of like that. And hopefully he will want to take care of me, too...

*sigh*

*hope*

*wish*

:oi

JenJen said...

I love your post. My husband and are opposites in almost every form of the word. Somehow, though, we just fit. There is something there that clicks everytime our differences make us want to pack it in. I would be the fidgity one. He's the sleeping one. But it's peace. Thank you! Awesome post!

lakeviewer said...

Sweet! Wise! A great observation! Yes, committing to one another is what's all about. Life will be cruel and troubles relentless. What you have is each other, the best weapon in the world.

We've been married 43 years. First love for both of us. We hope to die in each other's arms, as we lived.

This was a jewel of a post!

Tuppence said...

A lovely post and you make a lovely couple.

Tuppence
x

christy rose said...

what a sweet post!! I would have to say that it seems that my husband is better at doing sweet things for me than I am for him. I think I need to think about that a little! This was a great inspiration to remind me of how wonderful he is to me and to let him know I know that in return. :)

KathyB said...

Joan, that was magnificent. Weepy again.

Gucci Mama said...

My grandparents are EXACTLY LIKE THAT. My grandma is physically incapable of sitting still and I'm pretty sure my grandpa has forgotten how to move. I mean, there are pictures of him standing up so I know he once knew how, but I'm not sure I've ever witnessed it.

This was lovely to read, by the way.

Getting My Words Out said...

I think this is one of my new favorite posts....but it would come on the day I didn't get up and make breakfast and/or lunch for my darling husband. He didn't have socks and t-shirts in his drawer, but instead had to rummage through a basket to find them for himself. I didn't bring him a Diet Coke in the bathroom while he was getting ready. I haven't even planned dinner today. The floor needs to be swept and the house needs to be picked up--both things that allow him to be completely relaxed when he comes home from work (order and clean). ARG. Conviction. I don't usually do these things because they are expected (he would be the first to say he has NO expectations of me at all)...I do them because I love him and I know what makes him happy and what makes life easier for him. Well, and, so that he'll continue to work hard and support my homemaking habit!!

Thanks for the great post-AGAIN!!!
:D

Lori said...

Goodness I'm tired. Isn't it great to people watch? And isn't it great that there's someone out there for each of us. What a sweet story. I can just picture a film of the man sitting completely still with his wife moving constantly. :)

Lucy said...

Oh. Lovely lovely lovely post. What a gorgeous start to my morning, to read that. It had made me feel loving to my my husband.

50centlove said...

That is so sweet! What a nice story! My hubby has the strongest hands and when he hugs me, he not only hugs, he massages and rubs my back all over. I love it!!

Momma Fargo said...

Sweet! And that old woman probably does more just in fidgeting than I do all day! *Sigh.*

Eva Gallant said...

Yes, those of us who have good mates are lucky. I usually go to bed before my husband, and I turn on his half of the electric blanket so his side of the bed will be warm when he comes to bed (in winter). He never goes to the grocery store without bringing home a little chocolate surprise for me--a Cadbury Egg, a candy bar; onc he hid a bag of Hershey Kisses under my pillow. We help and caze for each other in countless ways. After 26 years, we know each other quite well!

4emerys said...

excellent Joan!
hard to believe that you are talking about the same guy who gave me 'chesters' until I was 12! :)

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Good Story!
I loved that old couple as well as you and Alan. But I think that woman would have driven me nuts. See how love can make a difference?

Green-Eyed Momster said...

I'm afraid I might be that old lady with the big purse. It's filled with things to keep me entertained!
I am lucky. My hubby had a close call with pnemonia earlier this month and it was very scary for both of us.

Great post!

I tagged you for a meme. I hope you don't mind!

Hugs!!

Brenda Susan said...

oh I so loved this post! Hubs & I have been married 32 years & the number of things we automatically do for one another are so automatic that i have to really think about it! We have a bathroom dance of taking precise turns at the sink or mirror, it's kinda funny when we notice it! I love growing old with Him! Thanx for the reminder!

***Amy*** said...

Awwww....what a sweet post! You've got a good catch there! :)

Brittany said...

Thank you for sharing this post. I loved reading it. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful husband. I really try to take care of mine as much as possible. He is definitely still in the learning process (only married a year), but is catching on :)

Kaloula said...

Very nice posting. I'd say sweet but then I think everyone covered that already, LOL. My hubs and I are also early arrivers to the airport, I get incredibly anxious if I'm not sitting at my gate bored for a good 30 minutes before boarding. Prime time for people watching and guessing which lucky person will sit next to you! :)

Linda Granholm Myers said...

Oh, wonderful!

Going through security at the airport, I catch my husband Art's shoes and jacket, keys and wallet, carry-on bag and CPAP machine coming out of the scanner - as well as my own stuff - while he gets patted down and wanded to make sure it's only his titanium hip that's metallic. Then we sit and wait. I do a lot of zippering (will have to be careful now that I know other people are watching) while Art takes out a folded newspaper and works the crossword puzzle. He knows I'm so concerned with my zippering that I'll leave him in peace to his puzzle.

Being Me said...

Gorgeous post. You never fail to disappoint! And you have given me cause to pause and think now. Lenny does so much for me in so many ways that it's become criminally easy for me to take him for granted. But as we've been aging together these past 18 or so years, I have thought a fair bit recently about just how much I would lose. To lose that familiarity.

Brittany at Mommy Words said...

Joan this makes mewant to be sweet to my sweet hubs even after my day from hell. Where is he now? At a cooking class with the wife of one of our friends. Where am I? In my laundry room / office typing away while covered in throw up from my baby who just nursed too much.

Heehee we are that silly old couple to though and I love that we understand each other and that we have our little routines. Ross helps out a lot with my 1 and 3 year old on weekend mornings so i can take a morning nap with the baby. He makes me extra crispy bacon even though he likes the big thick meaty kind. Snd yep - on a plane I sleep and he gets me a diet coke and crackers. That's the best. Then I wake up and we play sky mall - where we guess what the other would want from every page in the catalogue.

I love him! Hopefully he is taking this class and will cook more dinners!

Great post. Your hubs sounds great!

The Hillbilly Housewife said...

This was very sweet, and it really makes me appreciate my loving, caring husband...and reminds me that I need to do a little something special for him!

rxBambi said...

that was really very nice. Last night we were in a hurry for dinner before a basketball game (his idea) but he knew I didn't want fast food or anything. He told me to drive straight from work to a local italian restaurant. When I arrived the salads had just been placed, the wine was in the cooler, and my scallops (no sauce) were on the way.

I like what you said here:
the "growing old together" commences right on your wedding day. All of your life experiences together; your vacations, illnesses, and proxy Diet Coke-ordering begin the second after you say, "I do." It's up to us to decide how we're going to rise to the occasion

and I totally agree!!

Eyegirl said...

What a sweet post!!

Velvet Over Steel said...

Aww.. this is such a nice post! I am very happy for you guys and it gives me hope that there are happy couples who treat each other nice! Thank you!!!! Hugs, Coreen

TechnoBabe said...

This is so nice. I wish you could hold classes for every couple getting ready to marry. I feel the same about my hubby. We take care of each other. And the reaching over and loving and patting, we do that.

Jean said...

I hope to be as lucky in love as you are with Alan and as this older couple in the airport. It's something to look forward to as I get older!

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Kakka said...

Totally agree, my hubby takes care of me and I of him. 34 years we have been together, with nearly 33 married and he has always been there for me, just as I have for him. In a lot of ways we are total opposites, I am the sitter with the eyes closed and he is the pacer at airports. The one thing we do share is the love of each other and our family. thanks for sharing this lovely post.

lori said...

He warms your coffee cup?? That's a keeper! My hubby does any errands he can do for me just to save me the driving and the time, which is very sweet and much appreciated. My first hubby just complained about that stuff.

Lovely post!

lifeshighway said...

What a lovely post. I too look forward to growing old with my husband. He puts up with my quirky behaviors and spends his life trying to spoil me. I try not to abuse my super powers and call him 'sweetie"

Taylor-Made Wife said...

I always get to airports super early too. I figure. I'd rather sit around and be bored than have the chaos that comes with missing a flight. You and you hubby are adorable.

Bossy Betty said...

So Sweet! What a lovely post! Let's see--my hubby puts gas in my tank when takes my car out. I love that.

JennyMac said...

What a truly sweet post!

Andi said...

The airport is my absolute favorite place on earth to people watch, I could do it for hours and usually do as I am an "early-arriver" too!

B Sparkly said...

Want to wish you a great weekend! It is great to see romance is live and well. Makes me want to try harder to be nicer to my hubby.
Anat

The Warrior in ME said...

This made me smile. I loved you saying, "they were the perfect couple where neither annoyed the other." I think Alan and you sound very cute too!

Jerry said...

Interesting, and loving, post. Ten or so years ago when I broached the subject of a life together with my new love I said something like: "Would it interest you to, in quite a few years, to sit on a front porch with me in our rocking chairs complaining about the guv'ment and our lumbago and insignificant social security checks?"

Apparently it did. She married me.

You observe. I'm impressed.

Shan said...

Lovely as usual...

I feel the same way about Tom as you do about Alan (yes, even though we make each other a little nutty sometimes). There is no diagnosis to boldly remind us to enjoy one another, so I appreciate finding it where I can (because, yes, I am a quick learner and also, sometimes, a quick forgetter... argh!).

B Sparkly said...

I’ve got a small gift for you on my blog:) go check it out.
Anat

Kiera said...

Every single day I try to remember how blessed i am to have my husband too! Even when he's annoying me, I think, "and I've got one of the GOOD guys!"

Mercy said...

Somehow when you have met the right person, you just know it. My husband does lots of stuff for me and never complains about it. He takes the kids one morning a week so I can relax without them hanging on me. He cooks and cleans better than I do.
I used to tell my friends that I wanted to marry a gentleman, and I know I did.

Angie's Ad Lib said...

Awww. I loved it. You painted the airport scene so well I felt as if I were with you. If I didn't know that my Aunt/Uncle were at home I would think you were describing them. :)

I've caught up on some of your recent posts. I'm so sorry to hear about your husband's job and your cancer diagnosis, but so relieved that it wasn't as bad as the day you were in the "box." I'm glad your co-workers were there for you right away. I definitely don't think you've run out of blessings!

Thanks for keeping us up on what's going on. Hope your recovery time will be short and manageable.

Take Care!

Melissa @ Cellulite Investigation said...

Another lovely post, Naked Man! My guy knows I love him when I give him the last piece of bacon or the juice from my grapefruit. He knows how much I love food. :)

Denise said...

What an amazing post. I am very happy you have such a wonderful husband. I can see the two of you in the years ahead, looking back and remembering a wonderful life together, just like those people in your photographs.

Holly said...

That story and your description of the couple and how Alan takes care of you already warmed my heart. My hubby does all of those things too...including helping with the ginormous suitcase. My favorite thing is when he makes me a cup of my coffee with mocha powder w/o me asking in the am.

McGillicutty said...

We worked in the garden yesterday and although he hates it, he tilled and dug holes so I could plant my flowers... that was so nice... and now he has a bad back so I'll rub it later!!!

McGillicutty said...

p.s. the zippy lady was me... I'm totally a gitterbug in airports!!

Delana said...

It's possible that I'm the only one replying who has not been this fortunate and I will always publicly say I don't care. But honestly, your post really hit a chord with me...and for a moment, I realized I do care. I'm sure, deep down, we all want what you have been so lucky to have found. It made me a little bit weepy and a little bit hopeful... all at the same time. Thanks for a lovely post.

Brenda Susan said...

Loved this post muchly, just wanted to let you know that I have tagged you in my post today!

Feeling Just Right said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lifeinapinkfibro said...

I got stuck at the 'we're both early arrivers' bit. I'm an early arriver, a person who likes a little time to spare on the train platform or in the airport lounge. The Builder, well, isn't. As he puts it - it's not going to leave any earlier than advertised. He likes to screech in with seconds to spare and leisurely make his way to his seat. Could make growing old together an interesting experience... At least we both like to travel. :-)

SonyaAnn said...

You are so blessed!

Jenny said...

The pictures won't display on my screen but I love the story. My husband always WANTS to be an earlier arriver but ummm.... me, not so much!

Frances said...

What a sweet post! I am blessed to have found the love of my life on my second try. We take care of each other and will have been married for 13 years next months. He is one of the best men I have ever met. I am so lucky!

I found you through SonyaAnn and love the name of your blog!

Icy BC said...

This is an awesome post! I love seeing old couples that still show love to one another.

You and yours will get there...I don't have one to share with you right now, mine fell apart 10 yrs. ago..

Lew said...

And that's the way to make a marriage last! Glad you and Alan found the secret early in life. Delightful post!

Rachel said...

I adore this post! If we started and ended each day with kind of appreciation for how blessed we are... well!

My hubs makes coffee for me in the morning, way sweeter than he likes. He text messages me Princess Bride quotes throughout the day. And he lets warm up my cold feet on him at night.

Boy do I have it good!

Erin said...

I loved this post. I hope to have that someday. I did for a while, but really saw that towards the end, those things weren't happening and they are a concious choice. I was still doing things: getting a $20 little tub of Ben & Jerry's for his 'cheat day,' always asking in every shoe store I passed if they carry size 15 mens shoes (in Asia, it's most often a big fat NO and blank stare,) cooking a candle lit dinner a couple of times a week with lots of stuff I don't like to eat because I know he likes it, downloading our favorite shows and even though I'm bursting to watch them, waiting till we have time to curl up on the couch together to watch it.

It makes me sad, but also hopeful that because I have all those things to give, and still want to give them to someone, there's a guy out there wishing he had someone like me to do that stuff for. : )

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

This was such a touching post. I'm so glad you have such a wonderful husband, and he such an amazing wife.

I too am really fortunate. I know Mr. Handsome and I will grow old together, and we always were, from Day One.

I may complain about him on my blog, but it's mostly tongue-in-cheek. Mostly.

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