I want a love like my grandparents had. The kind of love that takes time and only gets better as the years go by, not the one that starts at lightening speed and burns out before it barely begins. I want the love that begins as a friendship and allows you to learn every little quirk that they have and how they'll react to a situation before they have the chance to. But, mostly, I want a love like that they had where even after years of marriage, the love still feels new and exciting.
The love story that my great-grandparents had was something that I've only heard about. It wasn't the fairy-tale romance where the prince came to the girl, swept her off of her feet, and they lived happily ever after. Their story was actually lot like Noah and Allie from The Notebook. He was like Noah in that he was poor country boy who barely had two dimes to rub together while she came from a family far better off. Nothing between them was every simple - they challenged each other daily whether it be personally or business related. But one thing was sure, they were crazy about one another and that was enough to make all the hard times worth while.
Pops was eleven years older than Granny; however, their difference in age didn't matter. Age really did became "just a number." Over the years, they pushed each other on a daily basis to create a farm that would not only be profitable but also become a legacy that they could pass on to the next generation. Working the farm together day in and day was was difficult because he was sensible whereas she was strong-willed, but they got had similar goals; however, the best part of all is that they were both crazy about one another. Some people didn't believe that they stood a chance; regardless of the naysayers, they overcame the odds that were against them. Over time, they created a love that was was so real that it lasted for decades.
The proof of their love is still evident after all this time. Even to this day, my great-grandma still has Pop's drivers license sitting on the window sill beside her chair so she can look at her "favorite picture of him."
I think that what they and Noah and Allie had is what all of us want to find. We all want to find the love that challenges us, awakens the soul, and causes us to crave one more day with the other person. We all want a love that feels old and familiar even though it's just the beginning and over time when the new has worn off can still bring back the butterflies and the school girl giddiness by simply looking at at old picture.
Like my grandparents, I want the relationship that starts with an actual date not a texting conversation. I want a love like they had where he came to her house to pick her up for the date, had to shake her father's hand, and then had to awkwardly talked to him while he waited for her to finish getting ready. I want the kind of love that they had were he would always opens the car door (or any other door) for her even though Granny was fully capable of opening it herself. I want a love like theirs where a date was actual date that was planned and followed through with.
Then, if I'm lucky enough to find it, I want to be with someone who will be comfortable with the real me and accepts all of my many weird quirks. Someone who understands that I am far from perfect because I have bad days from time to time just like everyone else. I want to be with someone who won't run away at the first sign of trouble, but rather, will stay and be my strong and steady just as I will be there for them when they need me. I want a love like my grandparents where even though they were different people, they accepted their differences and learned to pick on each other on those rough days. They understood that each other wasn't perfect but laughed about their shortcomings because as Pops always used to say: "The ol' gray mare, she ain't what she used to be." But mostly, I want a love that doesn't require romance all the time. One like theirs that allows me to be best friends with him and maybe a business partners ninety percent of the time and the other ten percent as two people crazy in love with one another and living all of life's many adventures together.
I'm envious of the love they had because it wasn't a short-lived, "let's talk for awhile and see what happens...if anything," kind of love. I want something real where just by them looking at me, I feel adored. I want a love like they had that that lasted through the fun twenty-something years, the more serious thirties, the middle-life crisis forties, the retirement fifties and sixties, and ends in the seventies, eighties, or nineties. I want to one day be able to tell my grandkids about the special person God blessed me to with and let me love so much that it even at age eighty-nine, I'll still feel like I'm seventeen again.
I don't have an idealized vision of their relationship. It wasn't perfect by any means. It was a challenge but one that they knew they wanted to work at everyday. They didn't spend a fortune making another feel loved, important, or appreciated. Pops had a catch-phrase that he used every time he was going to surprise Granny: "I've got to go to Cambridge for a haircut." Even though he thought he was being sneaky, everyone knew that he wasn't going to town for a hair. He went to town to buy a Granny a card or box of chocolate with a short note attached letting her know that he loved her. Most people wouldn't keep an old heart-shaped chocolate box and cards from every birthday, anniversary, or holiday but she did. That's when you know it's real because it didn't take a fortune to purchase those things; yet, it was those small, little things that she treasured.
What truly is the most touching part of their story is that even though it will 21 years since his passing on October 21st, she is still as in love with him as she was on the day they got married. She still talks to him everyday just as though he was sitting in the room beside her. Seeing her transform from the usually serious, strong-willed, sharp-tongued, tell-it-like it is grandma that I've always known her to be into a giddy school girl when she talks of Pops gives me hope that maybe movies romances like The Notebook can actually happen in real life, not just on the movie screen.
What my grandparents had for so many years is exactly what I've realized I want to find someday. I know that real, lasting love does exist and I'm not willing to settle for anything less than that. I guess it's the hopeless romantic in me, but the giddiness that I see take over my Granny when she talks about Pops is exactly the feeling I want to experience someday and until I do, I'll be patient and wait for God. I know that he will lead to me the person he means for me to be with when the time is right and when I'm ready. So, until that day comes where I find my man in a corn field driving his International Harvester combine and wondering why the yield of his crop isn't what he expected and I have to tell him that he needs me to tell him what nutrients the soil in that field is lacking, I'll wait and chase my own dreams.