So our February read for my book group was “Lilac Days.” With Lincoln so sick he could barely sit up for a whole week–I read it in a week. It’s not my usual favorite–a true story. But I loved it. It was a love story that spanned over fifty years and over both world wars the historical context made it very interesting.
And, being Valentines Day last week, it had me thinking a lot about love. This story was about a man and woman who loved each other for over fifty years, but were never able to be together. In the end it came down to class and station in life. She was a lower middle class American divorcee when they first met and he was a wealthy British-American bachelor Aristocrat. Then she got married again while she was mad at him, and then he got married to a proper-choice-wife. Then her husband died. They had a string of physical affairs with one another but mostly their affair was over pen and paper.
In some ways it was a beautiful story. In some ways, tragically sad. In some ways he regretted not giving up everything to be with her, but he always felt very bound by duty.
But my cynical self says, of course they were able to stay in love over fifty years–they never had to live together! I would be head over heels madly in love with T.D.H. if we were only able to be together for short romantic stretches. I mean he is Tall Dark and Handsome after all.
But it is in living together and really loving (and sometimes hating) one another that our love is real. Literally clean up our kids shit, laughing, crying, coughing, cooking, cleaning, eating together–exposes our love for what it is, real.
Do we always feel like it? No. Do we have real issues? Yes. May there be times we need breaks from one another, we need counseling, we feel like giving up? Yes. But we choose to stay together. We choose to love one another. We choose to continue to romance one another–to try to steal away for a date or a trip or at least time between the sheets after the kid is in bed and before I’m asleep. This is love, my love.