Warmest regards: Growing old together
There’s an old classic song that starts off, “Yesterday when I was young.”
Ahhh. I remember being young. When David and I married 12 years ago, I felt as young as a teenager, and he did, too.
So maybe the present I bought him during a vacation trip to Bethlehem for the music festival was a bit of a stretch back then.
After walking through Bethlehem’s interesting downtown, I found plenty of nice things but nothing seemed exactly suitable.
Finally, I spotted an attractive pillow that would match our new living room set. Stitched to resemble an old-fashioned sampler, the pillow featured the well-known quote, “Grow old with me, The best is yet to be.”
Over the years, I would admit to growing older. But not old.
Old was something that would happen “Someday.”
Someday seemed so far away until it sneaked into our lives.
But when you get married later in life you know you’ll reach “someday” - if you’re lucky.
At first we thought about growing old together in an abstract way.
As the years went by we learned growing old together is a gift.
While we have our challenges, just like every couple, we’re finding we face challenges better now than we did at first.
We are both strong, independent people, Yet we’re come to realize that we are much stronger as a pair than we would ever be singly.
One reason is that we each have different strengths we can rely on.
My strength is that I am an upbeat person, far more lighthearted than David. He says I make him laugh and that my lighter approach to life helps pull him up when he needs it.
One of David’s strengths is his rock solid peaceful being. He seldom gets worked up, and no matter what happens he remains calm. That often helps to calm me, too.
Take Sunday’s painful accident, for example.
As we were getting ready to go kayaking, I rushed out to my car to put something in the trunk. In a hurry, I slammed the trunk and tried to walk away.
I don’t have one of those electronic cargo doors that close slowly. I have to really slam it hard.
This time, the door to the trunk closed quickly and firmly … with my thumb still in it. I had to use one hand to open the truck while the pain was taking control.
I must have screamed because David came running. When he saw blood squirting everywhere, he quickly got a glass of water filled with plenty of ice, telling me to keep my thumb on the ice.
After a while that did help the pain and stopped the blood. Very calmly David assessed the wound, smoothed triple antibiotic ointment over the cut and bandaged it tightly. It helped me and so did his calm.
I’m so glad I wasn’t alone when that happened.
Twelve years ago when David and I married I gave him a copy of a photo I took showing an old farmer and his wife trying to carry a heavy bushel basket of produce over a long field.
The basket was too heavy for either of them to carry alone. But it became easier when they each took one handle and carried it together.
I photographed them trudging through a field while working together to carry the basket.
David loved the photo as much as I did.
We both thought the photo represented the kind of life we aspired to when we were old - helping each other by sharing the load.
Like many couples, we’ve learned any burden doesn’t seem as heavy when someone is there to help you carry it.
The older you grow, the more important that is.
We often find ourselves saying, “It takes two.”
It take two of us working together to help each other.
That’s true for simple stuff like finding things we misplaced or struggling together to read the small print on a medicine bottle.
When something is important enough for a label to say, “Read this before you take this product,” why do they put important information in type so small it looks like ghost ants marching across the page?
Older people are the ones who most often take meds. They are also the ones with problematic eyesight.
So why do so many manufacturers not put important information in bold, readable type?
Many times we have to resort to a magnifying glass to read small type. Even then, we often have to ask each other, “Can you read this?”
Sometimes we need to help each other through more than small stuff, especially when it’s health related.
My mom always claimed when I was sick or recovering from surgery I just wanted to be alone and sleep.
While that’s still partially true, I am ever so grateful to have David near. My friends and I agree that it’s much scarier to go through anything when you’re alone.
When we get a concerning medical diagnosis, we help each other calmly figure what to do next.
While we never know what will hit us from day to day, one thing we do know is that we are in it together.
Life may get tougher as we get older but it’s easier to handle any burden when two people are carrying it.
Contact Pattie Mihalik at firstname.lastname@example.org.