Love and all that wonderful nonsense

several of you have written about love recently, and it’s made me all daydreamy and happy.  even when we are struggling, the fact that love means so much to us is beautiful and inspiring.

when i think of love, i think of paul and joann.

“Joanne,” Newman once said, “is one of the last of the great broads.”

an imperfectly perfect couple.   you could see in their smiles how much they adored each other through the years.  they evolved, they were best friends, they stuck together.  they laughed like little kids.  they nurtured each other and understood what the other needed, even when they didn’t always agree with each other.

Paul’s wedding gift to Joanne was a silver cup that he had inscribed with the words, “So you wound up with Apollo/If he’s sometimes hard to swallow/Use this.”

i’m happily naive, some would say. i’ve always believed in love no matter how many times the glass has shattered around me.  i have loved as a girl, i have loved as a woman.  i’ve learned so much about myself reflected back at me in the eyes of the men i’ve spent time with. from the first boy to kiss me til my knees went weak to the last man i dated, from the guy i married to the boy i divorced, from the variety pack of fellas who i’ve dared to get to know and seen one or both of us go ‘um, never mind’, i have become a better woman for the experience.  

Joanne’s description of being married to Paul: “Being married to the most considerate, romantic man”.

as a woman whose heart has breathed in to this point, i know a few things about myself.  i know that i must always listen to my instincts. i know i must not ever withhold who i am.  i know that i must trust in the experience.  i know that i must have a mental and emotional connection, not just the pitter-patter of my heart.  i know that love is as simple or as complex as we want to make it.  i know that when i give of myself, i receive back tenfold.  i know that my heart is open, and with that free and flowing feeling, i can lean my head back and laugh and kiss and be kissed.  i know that it’s all que sera, sera and welcome that feeling.

Paul on why their marriage has lasted: “… because of “great impatience tempered by patience. When you have been together this long, sometimes you drive each other nuts, but underneath that is some core of affection and respect.”

i don’t care what anyone says…you’ve got to stay in love.  yes, there are times where your friendship keeps you going, and yes there are times when you want to throw a frying pan at the other person, and yes there are times when you just want to be on your own little island and not think about anything.  but in the end, knowing that you have a soft place to fall as the years go on, knowing you have someone who, even when you’re gray and wrinkled still wants to plant one on you?  that’s bliss.  while i may not have a relationship anymore with my mother and stepfather, i do have great respect for their love of each other – undying loyalty, great passion, similar sense of humor, and a true friendship.

Paul about Joanne’s support: “Joanne has always given me unconditional support in all my choices and endeavours, and that includes my race car driving, which she deplores. To me, that’s love.”

an interesting thing happens when you reach your mid-30’s as a woman.  you know your time may run out to bring a child into this world in the old fashioned way.  you have seen love in many forms and are faced with a choice:  see the world for it’s beauty, or become cynical.  there is no damn way i’ll ever be cynical – i’ve seen too many people i love give up on their dreams or sacrifice their own happiness because of their unwillingness to live for love.  an old friend of mine literally detests her husband, and they barely speak, but won’t leave him because she thinks it would traumatize the kids.  refusing to see that the relationship they display in front of their children shows them each and every day that there’s no such combination of love and happiness, that you must stay unhappy. she finds herself more and more miserable, thinking there is honor in sacrificing the possibility of a whole life because you think your kids couldn’t handle a smaller house, or a mom who works, or parents who are not legally bound.  i would have done anything for my parents to just. be. amicable.  i didn’t mind them being married, i minded them hating each other.  i minded them dividing me into two pieces. and i minded the fact that neither of them ever admitted to once loving each other.

Joanne on love and marriage: “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.”

there is nothing so attractive as feeling at ease with someone.  being silly, making each other laugh both in good times and in the rough times, cheesy grins and stupid jokes. giggling at movies and at life and when the dog farts and when the other trips over their own feet.  someone who can make you smile at the simplest things, that’s a beautiful thing.  someone who can see you for who you are and you can trust to show all of your facets, that’s worth everything.  while dating is never easy, every time i’ve had dinner with someone or walked down the street with someone and knew that this was just not going to work (or been awakened by their own realization), i get a little better at going, OK, they just did you a big damn favor.  they got out of your way.  with their freakish teeth or stanky breath or poor social skills or self-absorbed mannerisms, they did you a favor.  they gave you the opportunity to meet the man who has been getting ready for your arrival – whoever that man reveals himself to be, it will have been worth every ounce of pain and every lesson that crossed your path.

Paul about Joanne’s concerns about his racecar driving: “Joanne fell out of bed the other night and broke her collarbone. As she lay on the ground, I said to her, ‘I’m not going to listen to any more complaining about my racing!’ “

i tend to be very indulgent, very passionate, very expressive.  the word intense is not unfamiliar to me.  but, like the aquarian i am, i have many sides to me.  i cannot EVER be categorized.  i hope that the man i am with loves me for this.  i hope he lets me be who i am. i hope he knows that i don’t expect my partner to be my twin (how boring!).  i hope he knows that if there’s one thing he can be sure of, it is that his heart is safe with me.  i have finally allowed myself to be the nurturer and the free spirit, the artist and the businesswoman, the bohemian and the homebody, the earth mother and the punk rock grrl, the beach bum and the urban farmer.  and he?  this man i’ve been dreaming of?  he’s whatever he’s comfortable being.  he knows himself but is still learning.  he’ll take care of me in a way where i know that bumps can come in the road and i won’t be standing out there alone to fend for myself.  he loves me.

Paul on why he never was unfaithful to Joanne: “Why fool around with hamburger when you have steak at home?”

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