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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fighting for Love.


Love is a fluid thing; it becomes visible in the vessel it is in.

(This is a paraphrase from The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai, a fantastic read!)

Every time life challenged us, we felt like lost children in the woods, whining, blaming, crying out loud.  We had to remember the other times when similar things happened; we had to find our way out of the woods.

I'm constantly amazed at how much investment we have in our ideas of what love is.  We form those ideas quite early, and mostly uncosciously.  We refine them as we read, experience, watch how love is portrayed in the movie, talk to others.

As our children grew, we heard our words as we counseled them on how to navigate friendships, careers, dating.  We told them that good friends must be cultivated, as we cultivate a plant that is fragile. We told them to treat others with respect, to put other's needs above self, and to walk away from toxic relationships.  Do all you can; but if he/she cannot help himself from being abusive and destructive, and what you do doesn't help, you must move on. Some things cannot be changed.

As we verbalized these beliefs, we strentghened our own resolve.

We added one more thing: Tell the truth about how you feel, and never sulk in silence.

Thank God for cars, because we took many rides, for hours and hours, hashing things out.  At times, we'd be gone half a day, children in the backseat listening to their walkmen, while we discussed things up-front. Yes, they saw us talking; they saw us angry and upset.

We kept painting our picture of Perfect Love.  We kept adding strokes and color, erasing missed marks and sloppy lines, appreciating one thing, detesting another. 

In our earlier years, I thought PL came in with flowers and gifts and sweet nothings whispered unexpectedly.

In my later years, I have seen PL wash the dishes in the middle of the night, adjust the pillows and the temperature to my liking before I go to bed, and remember that I like the fish platter at Wheelhouse on Mondays.

He had to teach me about the venality of sweet nothings; I had to teach him abou the weight of dishes.
These lessons took a lifetime. We hope our children learned them too, and their journey eased as a consequence.


p.s. This post received Post of the Week for Nov. 4th. from Hillary at Smitten Image.
Thank you Hillary.

42 comments:

Becky at Abbey Style said...

So glad to find your spot in Blogland! 'll be following...love your stories.

Renee said...

Rosaria your children are truly blessed because you and your dear husband knew that you just didn't quit.

Josephine will go out as a witch but just to a couple of houses, she is 2. Domenic will be in the stroller, just going for the ride.

Love Renee xoxo

Reya Mellicker said...

This is incredible - a prose poem. Wow. Rosaria, wow.

Your advice to your kids is the most healthy and concise I've ever seen. You gave them every bit of information they needed. Wow. I wish everyone listened to you. I do.

Shadow said...

you're a wise one. i feel exactly as you. first it's flowers and dinners and rings, later it's time, that stroke on the back, and kind words...

Bogey said...

Your description makes me think of Plant Stem Propogation. You cannot just plant the cutting without first developing the root system. And after transplanting, you cannot just expect it to survive without a little help. It takes a lifetime of cultivating so it will grow healthy and strong. If you do not water and feed it, it will surely die. If you do not trim it and guide the growth, it will grow wild and unruly. A little bit of patience, a lot of TLC in the right doses and you have a sturdy, strong plant. A plant with deep roots and opportunities to propogate yet again and to pass on to others. What a marvelous series Rosaria. Thank you for enlightening us.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I'm loving your posts about your marriage. All rings so true with me.

Everytime I thought I couldn't bear another day of compromise - but then did and made it to the other side - I was grateful for the strengthening of our bond.

Gran said...

Beautiful real life story of love. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

this is heartfelt, so true...those little things that one remembers to do for the other are the things I miss the most...a new bar of soap (he always noticed); painting my toenails (he like to do that for me); resting my hand on his thigh as we drove along (we both did that)...

Sink said...

Wonderful. So wonderful. I'm going to go find my puttering husband and remind him of how much I appreciate his puttering.

Cinnamon said...

I know a few couples who, like yourselves, have found themselves growing into each others' skins, becoming more at ease and comfortable with each other as the years pass and their bond strengthens. Wonderful. Sadly, something I will never now have.

Matawheeze said...

In a month my husband and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary. We know love is caring for each other in ways we'd never have dreamed when we started out. My love for him has depths I couldn't have imagined but it has taken tenacity on both sides to get here. Congrats to all of us who stick it out and learn that love is so much more than infatuation.

potsoc said...

Mature first year university students, she 23, I 28. We were, in class discussing who could or could not be a character in a book or a play. We disagreed on animals and I produced the dictionary definition. She stood up finger pointing to the ceiling and wagging and said: "Maybe, but I do not accept the dictionary's definition!"
That very minute I fell madly in love with her. We married 6 years later and have been at it for the last 44 years. Differences? Yes! Reconciliations? Oh yes, and so sweet.
Bringing her coffee in bed for the last 44 years has also smoothed over many things and diminshed many sorrows and anguishes.
Such is bonding.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

This is what a real marriage is all about. You taught your children more than you'll ever know. My parent's (well, it was my mom) broke up and what a trail of tears divorce bring to everyone involved. Loved the writing on this post, very raw.

An English Shepherd said...

Lovely story.

Wizz :-)

Eva Gallant said...

Love that you are here and sharing your life with us!

Brian Miller said...

a beautiful continuation of your story...love is like a blossom, under each petal there is another to discover...your thoughts on marriage are spot on! great post!

Beth said...

I love this post! You so eloquently describe the ebb and flow of a relationship.

"He had to teach me about the venality of sweet nothings; I had to teach him abou the weight of dishes." How I love this sentence.

Natalie said...

A lovely post about my favourite subject - love. Thank You, Rosaria.xx

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Rosaria...this is an absolutely beautiful portrait of real love...not the shiny nothing so often portrayed in movies...but the authentic and substantive!!!! You both are an inspiration!!! And your children blessed!!! Loved this post (and its companion)!!! Love to you, my friend~Janine XO

enchantedoak said...

Good lady + good man = good marriage x good teaching = great post. Your formula for marriage.

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Thank you Rosaria. All so warmly expressed. Having over three decades of marriage, now widowed, I can certainly identify with the, "hashing things out." For all that those shared years brought, I too, implore, "Tell the truth."

Joanna Jenkins said...

I am loving your blog! I'm a newer follower and appreciate your honesty and wisdom. I'll be back again soon.
Thank you.
xo

Nancy said...

We've been married 29 years this December. I can relate to your journey. Beautifully written. Thank you.

Lori ann said...

Yes, learning by teaching, but learning by living too. It was more that way for myself, since I didn't have as good a teacher as you.

the walking man said...

I would only hope that my children have neighbors as fine as you two.

Dedene said...

That was lovely. Thanks!

Ribbon said...

As I have said many times before... love is the same colour all around the world :)

best wishes
Ribbon

lovely post once again Rosaria x

NitWit1 said...

Beautifully written, and even at 73 I find things I need to change.

Just yesterday he took me to a place he ahd seen a huge flock of geese heading south, resting on our lake. They stayed two days but I belatedly asked he take me there.

Here was sorely disappointed they had moved on. He was visibly disappointed. Insead of being grumpy at time lost in empty pursuit, I told him it wasn't his fault, the geese were not going to stay indefinitely and it was my loss for not grabbing my camera the first time he told me.

He had some pictures but is not the photographer of the family. I just said well you have some pictures.

Velva said...

I have really been enjoying this blog posts. These posts are a reminder of love that is nutured and unconditional.

Hilary said...

The very best way for our kids to learn right and wrong is by watching their parents. I have little doubt that yours have learned much of what's right about love from you.

karen said...

Hi Rosaria. I've been catching up on this latest series, and finding it all resonant, and meaningful... looking forward to hearing more. My ideas and expectations of marriage seem to keep changing along the way. Anyway, almost 15 years along, and somehow still going strong :)

ds said...

This is beautiful, its lessons deep, your children lucky--and so are we."The weight of dishes." Yes. Thank you.

Renee said...

What I love about being older is that know we really know what love is.

I admire you dear friend. I admire your commitment to your family. I share that commitment with you.

Love Renee xoxo

Ces said...

Dang! I hate love. It's an ornery taskmaster!

kanishk said...

This is incredible - a prose poem. Wow. Rosaria, wow. Work From Home h

Kat said...

Wonderful!
Yes. They were watching and listening and learning, I'm sure. :)

Kikit said...

Rosaria, thank you very much for my birthday greetings!

I read your last three posts and I love what I've read about marriage. It's not really a simple task and being able to keep it for 40 years is something brilliant. It inspires the younger ones like us because recently, more and more couples are opting for a divorce when things just don't work out.

Your children are so lucky to have you as a mother. I myself has witnessed my parents quarreled over something but I understand that's part of every relationship. What matters is the forgiveness that comes after every fight.

Lianne said...

I think nothing says love like my boyfriend washing the dishes and me not commenting on the fact that they are not perfectly clean. It seems to be about learning to let go of the little things -- things that don't really matter anyway. Thanks for the reminder

gaelikaa said...

Yes, we learn many things as we progress though life. Congrats on POTW mention.

Gaston Studio said...

Don't know how I missed this particular post Rosaria, but can surely see why it won POTW. Congratulations!

blunoz said...

Congrats on POTW. Yes, I'm a slow reader. :-)

Very well written post. My wife and I have been going through the same transition of learning what love means and how to show our love for one another.

Margo said...

I seriously love the way you express yourself - especially on this topic. It makes me cry - in the good way :)