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February 4th, 2011

We all want to be someone else at one time or another. Let's face it: we idolize other people. In the US, it's a full time job for some people. We are always checking out the lives of celebrities and national heroes. It seems there is always someone to emulate. Sure, we are happy being ourselves (at least some of us are), yet there is a small piece of each of us that yearns for something more. The next rung on the ladder, the next pinnacle of success. I spend my time trying to work as hard as my mother always has, learn enough to be the kind of therapist I've been lucky enough to work with, and cooking like I'm on the Food Network. Yet my relationships are the most important thing in my life, and I try to put all the former aspirations on the back burner for the one thing that matters most to me: my relationship with my partner. When it comes to that, there is only one relationship I want to emulate: my grandparents.

My mother's parents have been together over fifty years. My grandfather is the only man my grandmother ever dated, ever since she was fifteen. Their relationship astounds me. My grandparents are from Cuba, and in the sixties took my mother and uncle to the United States, leaving the only home they had ever known to flee Castro. They had to start a new life in a completely different country, a place that did not speak their language. They could not take all the trappings of their former life with them: it was not allowed. They took jobs different from the ones they had in Cuba, and embarked on a different life. Yet their relationship remained strong, throughout one of the most challenging situations a human being could ever face.

Only one photo exists of their wedding, and it is a treasure in our family. Black and white, slightly faded, it captures the excitement of the day. My beautiful grandmother on my grandfather's arm: young, in love, and awaiting the life to come. Although I am sure their life today is not what they thought it would be in that moment frozen in time, I have never sensed any regret or bitterness from either of them. The one thing Castro couldn't take was their love. Love for their family, each other, for service to others.

To this day, my grandparents still go on date nights. My grandfather takes my grandmother to a lake with countless swans, to sit with her and watch them go by. Their love is what binds our family. When my grandfather told me that Rob and I reminded him of himself and my grandmother, it was the greatest compliment I have ever been given. He believes we have the kind of love that will last a lifetime, and he would know. In my relationship, I have already seen the kind of commitment and strength that bound my grandparents through the tough times. Yet we are young, and we have a long way to go. If we begin to lose our way someday, I will take his hand and emulate the two people whose relationship will always have my utmost respect. With that kind of example, we could never go astray.


This is my entry for therealljidol. Thanks so much for reading and helping me get this far. Please vote for me if you enjoyed this.

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