Scrambling to get my shoes on, I snuck into a wedding, late, this afternoon and sat in the balcony. The view from the balcony, overlooking the wedding party and the guest, conjured up lots of reflection and I found myself smiling with the sweetness of the moment. Such a young couple, just starting out, the bride all dressed in white and the groom all dressed in his tuxedo with pink tie and boutonniere. Such naiveté as they entered into the promise of their lives together.
Unless we're fortune tellers, most of us don't know what lies ahead. We have no idea of the promises that we are making when making those wedding vows. We enter into this thing called marriage, as idealists. But, what about when the outer beauty and perfection wear off? What about when the days are numbered or one gets grievously ill. What about when the "cuteness" wears off and we have to wipe bottoms or spoon feed the other person? The wedding vow is so starry eyed and romantic at the time it's being spoken...but what about later on down the road?
I am so thankful that Jerry and I didn't have big grandiose ideas of marriage. I suppose we really didn't think too far ahead. We didn't have a 5 year plan. We just made the commitment and never looked back. This was the same example set by both of our parents, for which I am so grateful. Maybe I had more romanticized the idea but Jerry was more of a realist. In reality we were, and still are, life partners more than anything else. Whatever life threw at us..we would tackle it together. That's a pretty serious commitment!! I couldn't help but get a tear in my eye when this couple said their wedding vows.
So, here we are. Now. 43 years later.
Earlier, when I drove into the parking lot the shuttle bus was in front of the facility. The unit was going on a field trip and Jerry was on board. I parked the car and walked to the front of the bus and watched him as I came around front. Once into clear view, our eyes connected and he raised his arms into the air...as if to say, "hallelujah". What sweetness! His eyes are still glazed but so sweet and vulnerable. Like a new born baby. (I just had one of those...will write about that later.)
Jerry was eager to get up from his seat and we moved the resident who was next to him so he could get out. I took his hands and as he rose, ours eyes locked. Honestly, I don't know if he really knows who I am...but he knows I am SOMEONE. Someone who is important to him. Sniff!
There is no understanding this or explaining this to a newly wed. No possible way of understanding. I could never have understood this kind of love connection either, if we had not stuck it out.
The activity director and I decided that Jerry would be just as happy going with me for the day. So we shuffled over to the car. Jerry's long arms and legs can be quite stiff and resistant so it is a bit of a challenge to get him into the front seat of a car. It's like folding up a piece of Styrofoam...bend it until it breaks...accept I don't want him to break. And the whole while that I'm trying to manipulate his body, he's looking perplexed.
Once he was in the car, I noticed that he was wearing someone else's old sweatshirt and that his pants had a hole in the crotch. Honestly, I've been a bit neglectful in getting him new clothes. So it was time. TJMaxx was around the corner, so I said, "Self. What the heck. Take Jerry in and get him some new jeans.." So what if people stare.
Now this is the first time I've taken Jerry into a store in at least a year. In fact, I rarely take him off campus. His state has been so fragile and I haven't wanted to put him in any confusion. But, actually, this worked today. He's actually so unaware that he wasn't confused at all. I held his hands onto the cart and talked to him the entire time. I'd hold a shirt up in front of his face and talk, as if he could understand. He couldn't. I'd place jeans up to his waist as if he knew what I was doing. He didn't. I bought him new jeans. A new shirt or two. New jammie bottoms and long sleeved t-shirts to warm up his freezing arms. I kept my arm wrapped around his skinny waist and we shuffled around for about 15 minutes.
I wouldn't trade that time for anything. Short but beautiful. The kind of time that a wedding vow cannot fathom. But a good time. A reward that can only be experienced after a long life together.