Lots of stories are written about love. Ballads are written and sung about star-crossed lovers. People facebook photos, tweet entries and blog about first love, family love, lost, missed and new love. Everybody wants LOVE. Some of us find it. Some of us don’t. Few people have the good fortune to find a relationship as wonderful as the one my mother and Bill (my stepfather) have experienced over the last 39 years.
Once, years ago, my mother told her husband that she was bored and asked him if they could do something, something different. It seemed to come easily to him what that “different something” could be. He told her to get dressed and wait–he would be back in a while. The surprise was a ladder on the deck behind their home , a climb up to the top of the roof that looked out over a lovely view, along with a table, candles, champagne and romance–a romance that has deepened and enriched over many years of marriage ….a true storybook romance.
Please excuse the cliché, but, once upon a time…..
They met at a book company where they both worked. Bill had lost his wife to a devastating disease and was dating a younger, attractive, business woman. My father died when I was eighteen and mother was forced to get a job to feed and clothe five children. She found a job working at the same company as he did and the hands of Fate took over (and the younger woman was a thing of the past!) They became friends, dated for a while and, after a couple of years, got married. During the years that they have been married what started as attraction and mutual “like” deepened into the kind of relationship you read about in Nicholas Sparks novels.
Their story is a collection of happy moments and wonderfully detailed memories that Bill loves to share. Being a consummate storyteller, he can mesmerize with tales of his life before and after marriage to my mother. In a video I made of them for her eightieth birthday, my mother listens intently to everything Bill says, interjects quiet comments occasionally and gazes at him with an indulgent loving smile. It is obvious she is filled with emotion when, toward the end of the interview, she looks directly into the lens and says, “My time with Bill has been the best years of my life. That is not to discount the years with any of the children–you know I love every one of you. But, my relationship with Bill is…..unexplainable. It’s …..wonderful… It’s wonderful.”
I don’t claim to be an expert on true love, but I have truly been in its presence. We all want that, right? But, how do we get there? Maybe we could start with a ladder