On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

When you blog, people sometimes give you topic suggestions. Some suggestions are good, and some make you want to ask Have you ever read my blog? But some make you stop and think. My husband David made one of those suggestions last week. We were driving to the library and the discussion turned to blog topics.

“I haven’t had any real inspirations for the last day or two, so I guess I’ll write about our trip to the VA earlier this week or do another Senior Humor post.”

I won’t give you his exact words, but David suggested I write about how we keep things interesting in the bedroom at our house. First, let’s deal with the thought that just popped into all your minds. – the one after Eww, gross. TMI!! Yes, there is sex after retirement. Come on now! You don’t really think those couples in the commercials spend their evenings sitting in separate bathtubs holding hands, do you? Now that I’ve dealt with your first reaction, I’ll talk about mine. It was the have-you-read-my-blog kind.

“I think I’ll pass,” I said. “It doesn’t exactly fit my format.”

But after we discussed it a bit, I began having second thoughts.

“Why not,” he said. “You don’t have to be specific.”

“It’s just too personal. I think some things should be kept private.”

He didn’t put up a fuss. He knew what the answer would be when he brought it up. It’s just one of his favorite subjects, and he likes to get a rise out of me.

“I think people would be a lot happier if there was a little more sexual privacy in the world,” I said. “Fashions display everything, and the media shows and tells everything, so there’s nothing really special about it anymore.”

Mom and I never had discussions about the birds and the bees. I think she forgot that I didn’t grow up on a farm like she did with the farm animals following their natural instincts to give me an education, and our family dog was surgically disinterested in such matters. However, I had an older brother and precocious friends who were quite willing to share their wisdom.  I learned the basics the way a lot of kids do, and I learned from Mom and Dad’s example that physical touch and displays of affection between a husband and wife are special.

Mom and I did have one brief talk. The night of my wedding rehearsal as I packed in preparation for leaving my home of almost 20 years, she shared a gem with me.

“Remember, Linda, whatever you and your husband do in the privacy of your bedroom is okay. It’s a special time between the two of you, and it’s nobody’s business but yours.”

Many years later, Dad gave me another quick look into their world. He was a man of few words, and he definitely was not one to talk about his feelings, but shortly after David and I married, he said something that gave me some insight into why privacy can make a marriage extra special. My first husband was a critical man. He had opinions about everything including my appearance, and if my hair, make-up, outfit, weight were not up to his exacting standards, he didn’t hesitate to let me know. David was so completely different that I was amazed.

“Dad,” I said one day when I was visiting him and Mom at lunch, “Even when I get up in the morning with no make-up and hair sticking up in ten different directions, David tells me how beautiful I am.”

Dad smiled and said, “That’s because that’s his Linda.”

“What do you mean?”

“Nobody else gets to see you like that. In that special time before you get all dressed up and fixed up to meet the world, you belong just to him.” Dad was a wise man.

Blogging is a lot like life; you don’t always end up where you expected to go. This post started out with David’s suggestion, but as I wandered through the birthing process of writing it, I ended up drawing from a suggestion from my sister-in-law She sent me the above photo along with a suggestion that I blog about staying in love.

Mom and Dad stayed together and in love for over 70 years. It wasn’t a perfect marriage; I’m not sure there is such a thing. There were times when Mom was bored with the steady, predictable life Dad provided, longing for the excitement and romance she read about in the romance novels she favored and saw on her favorite soap operas. There were times when he felt stifled by her needs and fears and wished she had a little more confidence in her God-given gifts and talents. But even when times were tough and things weren’t going smoothly, they had a private space in their world where no one else intruded and where they belonged only to each other. Their love was evident to the world through the gentle affection and profound respect they showed each other, but the more intimate aspects of their marriage were saved for those special moments when they were alone.

I share a lot about my life with David. In fact, I realize what an open book our lives have become when someone at church or the Senior Center comments on something I’ve written. He doesn’t seem to mind the notoriety and even participates from time to time. His latest suggestion would probably yield a top ten list that would get lots of hits, but I think I’ll keep that part of our lives private. We got started late, so we won’t have 70 years together, and the years we have won’t be perfect, but they’ll be special.




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