Lasting love is unheard of today.
At least, that’s the message that’s sent every night I walk down Beaver Avenue, watching girls in short dresses stumble their way into the arms of the closest boys. Correct me if I’m wrong, but people don’t fall in love in frat houses. Not the kind of love I want to fall into, anyway.
So it’s ironic that for the last few weeks of my sophomore year, I fielded questions of “What should I wear?” and “Do you think I’ll look good in this?” from my grandma, the woman who is best known for her biting sense of humor and her ungodly knowledge of how to cook, rather than her interest in fashion.
But if you were celebrating 50 years of marriage, wouldn’t you care, too?
By the time you’re reading this, I will have spent an afternoon with my grandparent’s closest friends and family, honoring the love they coveted and cultivated for 50 years. Their story isn’t typical, either.
It reads of a young man and woman, both in their 20s, not looking for love. My grandma was a registered nurse who happened to pick up food at the same diner after a night shift. My grandfather happened to be the “greaser,” as my mom calls him, who would sit at the counter, ultimately convincing her that he had a twin — she hadn’t met the same man twice, apparently.
Today, the joke reads that if my grandma had to renew her vows, she might not say yes. But I beg to differ.
Their story isn’t simple, but what love is?
In college, we play the game of spinning round and round, searching for the person to spend the night with, but not the rest of our life. Yet if you are to stop, for what seems like only a second, that’s when it hits you. The crazy, heart-wrenching kind of love that sweeps you off your feet.
Some find it in their freshman year and spend the next four years closing the distance until they can be back in each other’s arms — meet my aunt and uncle. Others find it right out of high school and spend the rest of their lives together — meet my other set of grandparents.
And some, well, they don’t stumble upon it until their senior year in college, when a quick glimpse of an old friend leads to two children and a lifetime of happiness — meet my parents.
The best part about each story? They’re real. Of course, there have been ups and downs, bumps and bruises along the way, but that’s what makes their love last. That’s what makes them strong.
I guess what gets me about all of them is that on their own, they would be just fine, happy and pleasant, good to go. Maybe there was someone else along the way. Maybe something didn’t go according to plan.
But at the end of the day, it took a love for themselves, deep within the confines of their own hearts, to ever let them open that up to anyone else. That kind of love is what we have to strive for.
I’m the last person in the world to admit that I know anything about the thing we call love. I like to think that I’ve seen it, in the glimpses of guys past, in the ones who have held me and called me theirs. I like to think I’ve seen it in the eyes of my parents at a special moment or just getting home for the night.
Most importantly, I’ve felt it, every time I walk through my kitchen doors.
And that’s when I’m reminded that everything I do know, I’ve learned from my family, from my friends, from the way a simple touch or smile can change a day or change a life.
That’s when I’m reminded that if I ever hope to find such a thing, I need to let go.
I need to find the love within myself before I can actually share 50 years of my life with someone else.
They say home is where the heart is. And you know, I guess it’s time to go home.