I thought, "That is what love is." Attention to detail. The element of surprise.
I thought, "That is what love is." Big moments. Red bows. Extravagance and newness.
As a child, I loved to watch my mother and father dance. They would twirl around the dance floor of the night club they managed while I roller-skated past them, calling for them to watch me. But when they danced they did not take their eyes from one another.
I thought, "That is what love is." Slow dances. George Jones. Letting the world melt away.
I thought, "That is what love is." Shared jokes. Cold hands. Warm kisses.
I thought, "That is what love is." More smiles and laughter than shouts and tears.
I thought, "That is what love is." Forgiving. Second chances. Moving on. Making it work.
And now, six days a week, my mother gets into her battered old Buick and drives 60 miles, round trip, to see my father. There are days full of domino games in which she always shuffles and sometimes plays for both him and herself. The only day she misses are Thursday card games with her friends. My dad teases her by calling it her "work day". Thursdays are hardest for him, but he never asks her to miss it. There are no more giant red bows or slow dances or hands freezing from the cold. There are tears some days, but there are also smiles. There are kisses hello but there are now always kisses goodbye. There has been health; there has been sickness. There are unanswered questions and there are unsure futures. There are hardships and heartache, but there is sacrifice and strength as well.
Forty-one years worth.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.