“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard, and we’re gonna have to work at this every day. But I wanna do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever. You and me. Every day.” — The Notebook
Today I stumbled upon a beautiful scene in my study of soulmates, twin flames, and the totality of all things love. Something that I’m sure I’ve taken for granted all these years. The shared love between my Mom and Dad. The sheer beauty of it brought me to tears.
I stop by my parent’s house to drop off groceries for them. My dad answers the door a little slower than last time, which was only a week ago. My mom is in her “Mom Den,” perched in her oversized soft, cozy, blue recliner, a blanket tucked around her, sleeping. I instinctively know my Dad has covered her because the blanket is placed with such care. I survey the room. Coffee mugs and a saucer still sit on the side table; he listens to the news and reads the paper. My mom is sleeping like a baby without a care in the world. I gaze upon her with such envy because of the many things she no longer remembers. The things she no longer has to worry about. Her memory comes and goes these days, but my father, the wise watchful owl that he is, makes sure that she has everything she needs.
I remember how my mom always doted over my dad in their younger years. Now she has his undivided attention. A Black couple whose love blossomed in the late 1950s. My dad, now 89, and Mom, 82, both wake up each morning to serve the other in many small ways. Did they aspire to be anything other than husband and wife? Did my mom have vast career goals? I remember her being extremely artistic. Did my dad imagine working countless hours on the railroad, or did he envision himself as the aspiring tennis pro he had the talent to become? Would they have been able to fulfill those dreams being Black in a racist America?
As their love unfolded, did they share a lot of romantic notions? Did they ever lay on the beach, waves from the ocean rising and falling, gazing into each other’s eyes? Did dad bring her flowers? Did they lay in bed talking into the wee hours of the night like they do now? Did they enjoy romantic outings, picnics in the park? Nightclubs? Movies? I’m sure they had their moments, as they produced six children through their union. Still, I wish I had a personal snapshot of what life looked like before us. What would it have been like for them had they been able to travel the world? Would they have delayed having children? Would I have been a fleeting thought?
I sit and think about what their life could have been. When I picture them, I see my mom, dressed in housecoat and house shoes, pulling from my childhood memories. It’s late at night, and she’s in the kitchen, ironing my dad’s work clothes. Sitting at the kitchen table, eating the sandwich my mom has prepared for him, my dad chats her up, still admiring the butt that I know he is still attracted to. They’re talking about us, their six kids, plans for the day, school projects, disciplinarian stuff. The usual topics.
As I gaze upon them now, I wonder if they ever get tired of giving so much of themselves to one another. I wonder if they ever tire of living. Of living over 80 years and being there for one another for more than six decades of marriage. The relaxed look on my mother’s resting face and the gleam of love in my father’s eyes as he gazes upon her tells me it is a resounding no. They are enamored with one another. Perhaps they look at things through a different lens as they love hard, strong, and consistently. They have shared so many beautiful memories that I doubt they have any regrets when it comes to their lives together. They are still in love, each showing their love language through service.
While myself and others are not so patiently waiting on that perfect love and that knight in shining armor to show up with a hasty declaration of love, my mom has something better. She has that steady kind of love that Indie Arie sang about. Perhaps my dad did show up for dates with roses, and maybe over the years, the flowers were few and far between, but he showed up with a paycheck every two weeks. Not only would the pay be in their joint account, but it came with the silent guarantee that he would always show up, no matter what. He reassured her every day with his presence that “Baby, I got you, I got us.”
There are times when my mom has vivid memories and can replay her life with Dad, and one look at him simply pulls on her heartstrings. She often talks about how grateful she is to have found such love. How grateful she is that she found the right man, the best man. So, I need to look no further than my own backyard in my quest for love, my examination of soul mates, Twin Flames, and the totality of all things love. I glance again at my parents and know that I am looking at love. The beautiful manifestation of love is clearly all around me. Suddenly, my whispering heart tells me that going forward, never settle for anything less regardless of the circumstances. Ever.