My parents are getting older. My mom will be 76 at the end of the month, and Dad just celebrated his 80th last May. I was the youngest of the family, and Mom was 40 when I was born. In today’s times, that’s not that old, but back then, it was very unusual.
I am now dealing with aging parents. It’s not easy. Dad had some pretty bad health scares back when I was pregnant with Emma. There were times we didn’t know if he’d make it- or if he’d ever be the same again. Thankfully, as the stubborn German man that he is, he bounced back.
Mom’s health problems started a couple years ago, with a heart attack and stroke. She started having memory problems, but they were manageable. In the last six months or so, however, they’ve gotten worse. She has her good days and her bad days. There are days when she’s the normal mom I always knew, worrying about vacuuming or getting the flower beds weeded. Then there are the days when I have to remind her that, yes, she is home, and no, we didn’t move her into a new home without telling her.
It’s not easy to see my parents age.
What has warmed my heart lately though is watching my Dad take care of Mom. He is loving and patient with her, even on her really bad days when she’s angry at the world, and especially at him. He takes care of her, helping her in the middle of the night when she calls for him, or going to the drug store to buy a new tweezer when she can’t find her old one. He makes sure she’s eating properly, and takes her to the grocery store and helps her find the Clementines she loves. He holds her hand when she feels sad, and makes her laugh. He is there for her, every second of the day, being the patient and devoted husband he has always been.
That, my friends, is the picture of marriage. Marriage is not all romance and flowers. Marriage is not about the cuddling and the kisses and the butterfly feelings. Marriage is about devotion. It is being there for your spouse, during the good times of course, but being strong through the bad times. It’s not always happy. Sometimes it’s downright bad. But when you have that devotion, that love, that commitment- that stands the test of time.
It’s such an honor to watch my dad love my mom. It reminds me of the model of love that Dan and I have to be to our own children- to have them see us loving each other and taking care of each other. As my parents have been a model of marriage to me, I hope to be that same model for my own children.
So while watching my parents age has not been easy, I have been blessed by it. I am blessed to be able to see their love continue through everything- in sickness and in health.