|photo credit: sewtracy.blogspot.com|
My friend came from a large Italian/Irish family with six kids. They didn’t have nearly enough nickels to rub and were squeezed into a seriously small flat in Queens, New York. He said life was chaotic in their household.
His mother was gregarious, the life of every party, and Irish. She laughed, danced and told a great joke.
His father was soberly reserved and unemotional. A man who gave his son $100, shook his hand and wished him good luck as he drove himself to college in Milwaukee.
Both have been gone since long before I even knew him.
He said one of his sisters recently found a box of old letters. Love letters between his parents.
One letter stood out as special. Completely unexpected. There wasn’t enough opportunity, he explained, for outward displays of affection amidst the constant comings and goings of his family. It was dated after all six children were born.
The small block print of this letter told a different story. It detailed the deep love and desire a soberly stoic man had for his beautifully extroverted wife. Even then. During the frustration, disorder and confusion they called daily life.
As he shared more about the letters with me, I saw happiness radiating from him. And the romantic in me was intoxicated. I am in love with love letters.
His story immediately got me thinking of how exciting it would be for our children to stumble upon such private sentiments of love between their father and mother after we are gone. Words documenting our feelings for each other during decades of marriage. There are plenty of them.
But then I remembered there were other letters out there too.
Letters that were not between him and me but between me and someone else; someone who once held a special place in my heart. These letters, I sent to my best friend over twenty-five years ago asking her to keep them safely tucked away because I wasn’t ready yet to terminate their existence.
What if they resurfaced someday?
What if we are, all three of us, gone and they find their way back to our children’s hands?
What if? What if? What if?
A sense of panic washed over me.
That’s not what I want.
I want them to unexpectedly discover our love notes when they are parents themselves. To understand even though we seemed stressed out more often than not, we were very much in love. Even though we argued (mainly) over parenting and especially when they were in high school, we loved each other no less. To realize no love is perfect, but still beautiful nonetheless. Their father and mother had a romantic love that sustained a half-century or more. To feel intoxicated and proud in this knowledge.
That’s what I want.
That’s what I want.
I’ve never asked her if she still has those old letters; if she’s ever read them (and I wouldn’t care if she had). If she does, I will ask her to shred them so they cease to exist.
I need to call her.
This was written for www.yeahwrite.me. Please wander over following this link. You won’t be disappointed with what you’ll find there!