I pawed through the contents of my father’s lock box—the walls of steel that keep our birth certificates and social security cards and the like safe—short on patience thanks to the end of my first week at “real” work.
The 9 to 5 thing. You know.
There I was, sitting in the hall of my upstairs, muttering choice phrases and letting a few curses (okay…more than a few) slip from my tongue as my search turned up nil. No passport? No trip to Ireland. That’s what it meant. And that made me want to toss this box and run to my attic and lock myself in, where the wails of my stressed out being could be released without scaring the neighbors.
Before I could start throwing things, I came to the bottom of the lock box. No, it wasn’t my passport. It was something much, much better…something really nice. Really really nice. On the border of vomitrocious, but honestly, it made me so happy.
It was a small collection of letters, hand written by my very own mother, all addressed to my father. Mom & Dad. In letterform. Christmas cards, just-because letters, love notes, etc. All saved by my dad, and placed in the same box that houses our birth certificates, social security cards and passports—the single most important documents in a person’s life.
I read them. Not all of them, but enough to be reminded of the rarity that is their marriage. The 30 year kind, the I’ll-let-you-snore-if-you-let-me-have-all-the-covers-kind. A part of the other 50%, the percent that is still sharing their lives together, fights and lacking patience and irritation included. And yet, somehow, this 50% has managed to get through it, and come out the other side still holding hands. Okay, maybe the hand holding is at a minimum, but metaphorically speaking, they haven’t stopped holding hands since the day they were married. They drink their morning coffee holding hands; go to work with fingers entwined, and come home for dinner, hand in hand.
I know the risks involved with marriage, the possibilities of divorce and all sorts of other terrible things, but it’s finding the love notes my mother wrote to my father 30 years ago secured in the same box that contains our identity that lifts my heart.
These two are the reason my heart will someday find & keep another, hand in hand, for all eternity.