What My Grandparents Taught Me About Lifelong Love
Start writing a post

I was fifteen when I met my future husband Robert. That same year, my maternal grandmother passed away. With my other set of grandparents living away in Texas, I found myself aching for that familiar smell of powder, a warm home with freshly baked cookies, and an ear that was never too busy to stop and listen. Enter Dolores. She was Robert's grandmother who lived just down the road, and she would change my life for the better the instant I met her.

The first thing I noticed about her was her bright pink lipstick. A decade later, when she accepted the fact that she needed to use a cane, she would request that it be hot pink to match her makeup. Her white hair was coiffed into a perm, her hips shook like a bowl full of jelly, and she was just the most jovial, kind-hearted, welcoming presence I had ever encountered. I fell into her warm hug and just breathed her in. I'm eternally thankful I fell in love with her grandson, but even if I hadn't, I would have paid her routine visits for the rest of my life just to sit with her and be around her light.

Of course, Dolores didn't get through life alone. Her husband, Lewis, was always by her side. A plumber by trade, he recruited Robert to join him in the family business after college and the two made quite a pair. Robert would get to their house bright and early in his work blues, Dolores would make them scrambled eggs and toast, and they'd hit the road together for a day of hard, honest work. I would come by in the afternoons to chit-chat with her and pass the time after work got out.

During our newlywed years, when we were still finding ourselves and our footing, I would visit her, too. It was during that time that she taught me how to cross-stitch. Even though she was over 80 and her hands were a little shaky, she'd make the trek solo to the nearby hobby store, pick out patterns she thought I'd like, along with plenty of thread, and we'd sit on her worn, floral couch together and make pillowcases, table runners, and baby bibs for the one-day children she just knew I'd have.

When that season of life did come, I'd bring my babies over to see her in the afternoons. A young mom, I didn't know how to fill my days, though it always seemed as though I never had enough time. Lewis was still riding around in the work truck, crawling under houses and fixing pipes with Robert even though he was decades past retirement age. We'd be sitting there together in the living room, our cross-stitch on our laps and the babies devouring ice cream sandwiches and Klondike bars, when the boys came in late in the evening. Before even taking off his muddy work boots, Lewis would stoop down to Dolores in the kitchen, give her a big smooch and say, "How's it going, mama?"

They'd make pecan pies in the fall and banana pudding all year round. When I marveled at how she found the energy and motivation to cook after all these years, she'd just reply with a smile, "Lewis and I do it together. We get along, day by day."

One night, she got up in the middle of her sleep to get a Coke in a glass bottle and a pack of Nabs from the fridge. In her sleepy state, Dolores slipped on the kitchen linoleum. She broke her shoulder and had to stay in a rehab facility for a while. It was supposed to be a temporary placement, but while there, she developed an acute blood infection. Months of tests, trials, surgeries, prayers, and tears later, it was determined that she would need advanced nursing care and supervision for the remainder of her life.

She was moved to the best assisted-living community around, where she quickly found her footing. There was bingo on Mondays, a great staff ratio, excellent meals three times a day, and spacious living quarters. Home was just a place and this was her new one, and it didn't take her long to become acclimated. Still, while she could do without the comforts she had grown used to in her house, there was one major piece missing: Lewis.

Still able to live independently, he remained at home for just over a year. Yet, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, mowing and sleeping just isn't the same without the love of your life nearby. This past weekend, he moved into a townhome within her same complex. He doesn't receive the same level of medical attention that she requires, but he can walk to her. We saw them after he moved in, and on his sparse dresser were three picture frames. One held a picture from their engagement, Dolores in her wide smile and Lewis in his Army cap. The other was a picture of their son, Glenn, who would go on to raise the finest man I know. The third was a picture of them at their 65th wedding anniversary, with her white crown of hair and his thin-wired spectacles.

I'm only 31 and still learning so much about love. I don't know how to compromise very well. I hold grudges for far too long. I am quick to speak and slow to listen. Yet, I'm learning every day what it takes to make something work forever. Dolores and Lewis taught me it starts with the simple. A pie in the oven at four in the afternoon that you made together. A tiny home on a busy street filled to the brim with a lifetime of memories. Taking a walk in a new place, side by side. Every step a miracle, every day a blessing.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

I just recently got engaged and planning a wedding during a pandemic is actually kind of a nightmare.

A lot of venues are taken for 2021 because of corona brides and grooms who have had to reschedule their weddings and the same goes for other vendors and literally everything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

While promoting her most recent movie, "Work It," Sabrina Carpenter has divulged some of her favorite beauty products to interviewers.

Keep Reading... Show less

When I say we can't stop thinking about the relationship advice Miley Cyrus dropped on "Call Her Daddy" today, I mean it literally.

Her truth bombs hit me (and most who listened) like a wrecking ball and coupled with the release of her new song "Midnight Sky," we're going to need some time to process the greatness. In case you haven't listened yet (what are you waiting for?), here are 10 relationship tips Miley shared that we should all live by for the rest of time.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Founders Of Color: Rec Room's Dre Taylor On What Blackness Can Look Like And Not Working For Free

"It mattered to me that when we were depicting racial diversity for Rec Room, we showed the broad spectrum of what Blackness can look like."

Rec Room

The world of sustainable fashion is inundated with marketing gimmicks, false advertising, and large corporations cutting corners — Rec Room is the pure antithesis of that.

Keep Reading... Show less
FOX

"New Girl" is one of the best sitcoms of all time. Honestly, it is so much fun to watch, so much fun to relate to, just all around a great show.

Not only is a great show, it has so many different great settings, obviously including the loft. If you live by Nick Miller quotes and desperately tried to learn how to play "True American," you need to buy these things because you are a true "New Girl" fan.

Keep Reading... Show less

You know those items you've been pinning to your Home board on Pinterest for [insert amount of time]? Well, it's officially the moment to turn that wishlist into a married life reality, and it's going to be SO fun.

But, before you get to shopping and adding things to your upgraded bridal wishlist (sorry, Pinterest, it was lovely while it lasted), you'll first want to decide where you want to open your registry (or registries, if you want options). Here are 17 of the best websites and stores to consider saying "I do" to for your wedding registry, to have and to hold for as long as people are buying you wedding gifts.

Keep Reading... Show less

If you've ever been in the dating game, or currently are, chances are you've had a date gone wrong. These are often times super embarrassing, but they are always funny to look back on.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 At-Home Therapy Tips You Need, No Matter What Your Therapy Routine Is

Whether you're in a Zoom session or live-chatting, make sure your home therapy space is good to go.

No matter what stigmas you held about therapy before this year, I'm sure 2020 has affirmed that we could ALL use a nice long therapy session. Between wildfires that took over an entire continent, a global health crisis, and what's sure to be one giant circus of an election in the United States, we need help and we need it now.

The fact of the matter is, therapy has been a helpful, valid resource long before the world decided to become one giant dumpster fire. Having a safe space to discuss what's going on in your life, worries you have, and struggles you're facing has become a very normal thing for individuals' mental health.

Keep Reading... Show less

Dunkin' just announced that they'll be releasing their fall menu earlier than ever — set to debut on August 19 — and that it'll include new menu options this season, including a new signature pumpkin spice latte. Let me just say, Starbucks has some fall-menu competition now.

Keep Reading... Show less

When it comes to wedding planning, each and every detail is customized to the style of the couple. From venue and decorations to food and beverages, nothing gets overlooked — whether your wedding is big, small, or virtual.

The same thing goes for invites, which are getting more and more beautiful every wedding season. If you're looking to customize your wedding invitations, the options are endless... you can add pictures if you wish, opt for fancy artwork, or keep it simple with just text).

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments