Sunday, October 19, 2014

Musings on relationships

"Grow old along with me/The best is yet to be/ The last of life/For which the first was made"
                   from "Rabbi Ben Ezra," by Robert Browning

I guess that's what every young girl, at least of my generation, dreams of--that meeting of souls that lasts a lifetime. A complete, encompassing love that endures long after physical attraction and desperate sexual encounters. For me, it wasn't to be, and sometimes I'm a little sad about that.
I watched my brother and sister-in-law, unspoken, share a private joke (that I unintentionally initiated), and I thought that's the kind of close caring I miss in my life.
In truth, I know very few couples who have grown old together from the get-go. Almost all of my friends are on at least second marriages, and some of those on first marriages don't seem too happy about it. But I've seen close girlfriends develop that soul-mate relationship with new spouses, the kind that is indeed "till death do us part." My brother and Cindy have probably been together a little more that twenty years--which is about a fourth of his life. So not everyone walks happily from youth into the sunset together.
I would not want anyone to think that I am unhappy with my life. In thirty-plus years since divorce, I've been happier than ever...and I've many times blessed the woman who took my ex off my list of worries. I have four wonderful children, who love me I know, but they have their own families that come first. I have many good friends who love me and understand me. I've had a few soul mates along the way...male and female, some lasting and some not so...and I've had relationships with men that I can only thank God for saving me from. What was I thinking? When I was newly divorced, a much younger man told me he'd never date me because I had baggage--four children. Even then I would have been hesitant to introduce a new man into the family circle (did once and they loved him and he them but it wasn't meant to be). Even today I'd be hesitant to introduce someone new to our close family. If I married now, I'd end up being caretaker to some old man. (Years ago when my brother was single, two gay friends suggested I should open an home for old men and take care of both of them and my brother--no, thanks!) And, the kind of relationship I'm talking about doesn't develop in a week or a month--it takes years to build. Sort of how I feel about my relationship with the new dog I'm trying to civilize!
So I'll grow old surrounded by loving family and friends. I treasure the experiences I've had, the accomplishments I can count, the love of cooking my mom blessed me with, all the things that have made up my life and still do. But every one in a while, I see a couple holding hands and walking by the river, and I feel a twinge of jealousy.


Vera Rowell said...

It seems to me that you have found joy in life as it has presented itself. Things don't always turn out like our dreams but if we look for beauty and happiness , life is very satisfying.
We might not have been able to enjoy all your creativity if you had made different choices, Judy. Thanks for the offerings you have made to enrich others lives.

Judy Alter said...

What a very nice thing to say, Vera. Thanks for starting my day off so well.