Pulling the leash taught, he looked wistfully down the road. Turning his head toward me his brown eyes yearned to explore beyond the side walk.
“No. I don’t want a car to splash on me. Look at the size of those puddles,” I said calmly.
He turned and continued his wistful look followed by yearning brown eyes.
“No, not this time,” I said firmly and without harshness.
He turned and looked down the two-lane road. I waited. He looked back at me, using every cute bone in his body (he has many) to plead his case.
He yearned and turned back to me.
I nodded my head back the way we came. Letting out a sigh (really), he gave up. Moments later he found the perfect spot and we returned to the warmth of the indoors.
Like my beloved Heywood, we often have to settle in life. I’ve found that sometimes, not always, but often enough my yearning for the land beyond the sidewalk is not what I need. Sometimes settling isn’t settling at all. It is finding the joy in the perfect spot I’d passed by on my desire to go beyond the sidewalk.
Thirty-five sounds like we should have special plans. We should get all dressed up in our sexiest clothes and go out to dinner. If you believe the commercials, I should surprise her with an expensive gift. Perhaps a diamond ring or necklace. Maybe I should send her thirty-five roses?
Instead we’ve been hiking and now we’re hanging out together over fast food pizza. We might stop by the cherry stand in Mosier on the way home and we’ll probably cuddle with the dog this evening. We rarely put pressure on ourselves with the big days or the numbers. We also don’t spend money on each other just because some marketer says we should.
We spend time together. As we traveled from our remote town to the trail this morning, we talked about our future. I asked about how she was feeling about work which is currently in a state of flux. She listened as I reflected upon my hopes and dreams ministering with my congregation. We listened. We loved.
We did what we usually do on our Monday sabbath. We spend time doing things we enjoy and just being together.
Still, I’m more reflective today than most Mondays. As I look across the table at my Imzadi, my soul mate, my other half, my partner in life, my thoughts drift to where we were then and where we are now.
We were married young. Maggie was nineteen; I was a few months into my twenties. Objectively speaking, she has a few “blonde” hairs on her head now. My red beard is rapidly greying and we both wear bifocals now. We finished our childrearing a long time ago. We bicker less than we did during those years, perhaps because we have more rest and time to work on our relationship. Undoubtedly, because we’ve learned a thing or two about ourselves and one another through the decades.
Through it all — including the stormy times — our commitment to one another has remained rooted in our own mutual admiration society. You see, there is no one else. There is no one, including my children, with whom I’d rather be than Maggie. No one gets me like she does and I get her better than anyone else. I know and love her through her idiosyncrasies. She inexplicably finds my obnoxious morning (and afternoon and evening) songs endearing.
How could a diamond necklace or roses in any way represent the value of our thirty-five years together? Time together, sharing jokes with one another, talking about the next thirty-five, and simply being together are gifts that reflect our decades together. Those are the gifts we both expect from one another.