February, the love month, and just who do I love? Lately my six-year old granddaughter Mila is leading the pack. How can I not love her best when she answers questions like this: Me: “I have not seen you in a month, do you still remember me?” Her: “Of course I remember you, you’re my gramma, silly.” Me: Oh, really, let’s see, describe me please.” Her: “Well, you have curly hair, beautiful eyes, you wear beautiful clothes and always have beautiful make-up on.” Is she up at the top of the list after that answer? You bet, and I may change my will to leave her everything.
I have three other grandchildren and I really do love them all the same, but those three are teenagers and I am just a blip on their radar screens, or would that be cell phone, tablet or laptop screens. I remember when they were Mila’s age and how much they wanted to spend time with me, so I am savoring that short window when a child’s favorite pastime is spending the weekend at gramma’s house.
I have been widowed for 11 years and had a few dates here and there, but they felt like job interviews and I kept dreading it each time I had a date. So I just stopped. My heart was not closed, but I decided not to pursue dating. Instead I rationalized that if anyone were to come into my life it would be serendipity. Someone would have to fall from the sky and land right in my lap. To my surprise and amazement, after an 11 year drought, it happened. Someone fell into my lap.
I had known him for years from a theater group I am in. He was just one of the men I liked who was not available, but became a friend. He lives six months in San Diego and six months in England. We always enjoyed each other’s company and right before he left for England last year we went out for a goodbye lunch. Over lunch we talked about our lives and I found he was not married but had a partner of five years. And that was then.
This year upon arriving back in San Diego he called and asked me to lunch. At lunch I also found out he called me the day after he got in. I guess I was on his mind. Our conversation led to the fact that he was no longer with his partner. Not long after that day, he called again and asked to see me. In the months that followed we began seeing each other more and more and the friendship, slowly and carefully, became a romance.
We began to learn more and more things about each other and it shortly became apparent how compatible we are. When you are young attraction does not always involve compatibility. But as we grow older and wiser we see that companionship is paramount in a good relationship. Romance is lovely, of course, but knowing you have the same kinds of values, like to do the same kinds of things, and most importantly watch over each other, is the key to being happy.
He is very different than my husband. My husband shied away from the kitchen; he cooks with me. My husband watched a lot of sports on TV; he only watches a few favorites. This comparison could go on and on, but what’s the point? I am at a different stage of life and my wants and needs are also different.
One night I told him that after being alone for so long, my theme song has been “Someone to Watch Over Me.” I sang him the words. Later when he was leaving, he took my face in his hands and said. “I’m here to watch over you.” Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.