Fang and I have this silly joke when we tell one another that we love the other, one or both of us will giggle/laugh and say, ‘And this time I mean it.’ It’s silly; but then so is trying to live with someone for a lifetime. It takes a sense of humor and more patience than a cow has milk to live at peace with someone for a lifetime. But every day we are reminded that the effort has been worth it. Sharing our lives has given us more than any list of tangible benefits that some psychologist could discover and publish. The children have been one of those most interesting benefits.
Of all the things children teach, helping us learn how to play again has got to be the best gift that they can give us—well, next to grandchildren, that is. And truthfully, the grandchildren just make it easier to join the fun again without quite the sense of responsibility that we had when their parents were little and we were caring for them on a 24-7 basis. Walking in the rain with a child or digging in the dirt is right up there on my scale of fun stuff.
When we first got married, it seemed as if we both had made a definite choice about our new friend. Oh, we both had had people with whom we grew up or hung out with, but this was a REAL friend who would be there forever. And that is how we felt about marriage that first few years. And then we grew up a bit and learned that we had to work together to be happy and to make our lives mesh in the best ways. His work became my concern, and my work became his concern as well. But even when things were tight and problems seemed to come at us fast and furiously, we still had someone right there to hug and to listen to the concerns.
After nearly 41 years, Fang still teases about my cooking—and yes, about my driving as well. And he still has no idea where the furniture will be when he wakes up in the morning because I still move the darned stuff around—and worse still, I move around his tools, his tractor, and other assorted stuff that he thinks he will find where he left it. That situation takes patience, but the pile of tools on the kitchen table takes just a bit of patience as well. What really amounts to patience, if truth be told, is the certainty that we will both smile at each other and know that whatever concerns one of us will always matter to the other. This is the time when we really mean it—we really do love each other, and it’s a blessing we appreciate deeply.