Wednesday, February 07, 2007

rocky mountain high

I just arrived at my aunt's house in Colorado for a few days of skiing and time with family. My aunt is an extraordinary woman - she was a pioneer in the publishing industry and only recently retired from the last of the major corporate boards she served on after an early retirement from her corporate career. Her success in business has directly benefited our entire family - from her extreme generosity across the board to her love of travel and willingness to share that with us (this was the aunt who first took me to Africa so many years ago).

I have enjoyed spending time with her and her husband in the past few years now that I'm old enough to develop more of an adult relationship with them. For a few years after they married in 1992 (it was a second and third marriage for each of them), I managed to alienate myself a bit as I discovered how radically different my political views were from those of my uncle. This was before I'd learned the invaluable skill of finding a middle political ground and meeting people where they are at, and not where I'd prefer them to be (not to mention that I don't, after all, know everything as I thought I did when I was a teenager).

In the past few years my uncle's health has started to deteriorate (he's 83) and this woman who I have looked up to my entire life for her tenacity in business has taken on a whole new identity. She's now more or less a full time care taker, and learning to slow her own life down to accommodate the needs of the love of her life. That isn't to say it hasn't been challenging - it has. It turns out that even the most accomplished and brilliant among us can be thrown for a loop by unexpectedness of life's inevitable cycles. And as she learns how to handle this new role - perhaps more challenging than any corporate endeavor she undertook - my appreciation for her life and the way she's chosen to live it grows. I now realize that even she is as human as human can be.

Tonight at dinner as the three of us drank wine and sipped on cioppino my uncle interrupted numerous times to tell me how happy he is. "Meggie, will you tell your family how lucky I am to have married the most wonderful woman on this earth? Do you know how fantastic my wife is? I'm such a lucky man." Over and over he told me - sometimes when she'd gotten up to serve dessert or use the restroom, sometimes in the midst of our conversation. I know she's heard it a million times - but sometimes truth like that bears repeating.

My parents have always had a rocky relationship - growing up there were times when I wondered if I'd ever be able to manage a healthy relationship of my own given the example they set. My brother Tim reminded me at one time that whether or not our own parents set the standard for the ideal marriage, we had many wonderful couples in our family to learn from. Now, years later, I realize that regardless of the faults in my parents marriage - they've passed on immense amounts of wisdom and insight into what keeps people together and how to enjoy and approach life together. And as my brother said, I have other models as well - and none of them are perfect. This is never more evident to me than when I see one of these couples take on a challenging time - as my aunt and uncle now are. Life is changing for them, they know their years together are numbered - and while it's not a rock-less road, it's full of love - and you know no matter how hard it gets, they both thank God every day that they've had the time together that they have. In a word, it's lovely.


Blogger Megan said...

Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for lightening my heart after a frustrating evening. Enjoy your time with your family.

(And I love the final product of the new blog look!)

2/07/2007 9:47 PM  
Blogger Indiana James said...

It's funny as I started reading this, Somebody from Depeche Mode started playing on iTunes... We should all be that lucky to have that experience for ourselves. And though it may not be the here and now for most of us, it's refreshing to know it is out there to be had.

2/08/2007 12:58 AM  
Blogger Peter DeWolf said...

It is funny that when my mood is somewhat "off," you'll post something completely disarming.

You're brother sounds wise.

I think it's great how you notice the things in life that many would overlook, and find what is truly important and beautiful in them.

(Could I borrow your "giant cheeseball" tag for this comment?)

2/08/2007 5:52 AM  
Anonymous Hanna said...

Thanks Megan, that was a lovely tribute of truth to them both and captured the beauty of their love. Have fun on the slopes! We go to Kwood tomorrow; yes we'll post the Boo in the snow upon our return.
-the "wise" brother's wife

2/08/2007 12:02 PM  
Blogger Airam said...

Truly wonderful

2/08/2007 2:22 PM  
Blogger Eve said...

That's so funny (not laugh-out-loud funny) because my mother and I had a very similar conversation. That no one couple is perfect, but that you can learn from all of them.

Also - you never know what things are like when two people are alone together. It's easy to forget that.

2/08/2007 6:19 PM  
Blogger With Love, Fat Girl said...

Depeche Mode also has that song Enjoy the Silence, where words are very unnecessary, but I have to disagree. You're totally right in that sometimes, things are worth repeating.

We all need that extra lift sometime. You have a wonderful family.

2/08/2007 8:15 PM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

Megan - thanks! That lightens my heart to hear :)

James - so very true!

Peter - you make a fantastic cheeseball - thanks!

Hanna - you better! I showed video of the Boo to Carlie and Tio tonight and they giggled and giggled at how cute he is!

Maria - merci, as usual :)

Eve - so true, none of us are perfect - and there is real value in learning from the imperfections!

FG - I so do - I feel very, very lucky!

2/08/2007 8:24 PM  

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