It really is all about love, this season — and caring and sharing and thinking of others.
On that note, I was reminded of an experience I inadvertently observed one Sunday while walking home from church. My down-the-street neighbor came running full-on like he was in a 100-yard dash. He had his suit coat slung over his shoulder and was running like mad. He didn't even acknowledge me as he was focused on someone in the distance — his wife. When he caught up to her, he reached for her hand and off they went chatting like two magpies and swinging their joined hands.
I regret not pulling out my phone to video their walk for them to replay in 30 years at their 50th anniversary. It really was a romantic vignette — sun shining down, beautiful autumn leaves on the trees, and two happy friends walking down the sidewalk beneath the beauty.
Back in the days when Grit had hair and mine was brown, I remember those stolen moments away from the hubbub of our raising-children life. Days would get so hectic that sometimes we'd wonder why we got into the situation in the first place. Then a night out or even an uninterrupted hour together would help us remember who we were and what we were about.
Being good friends is the basis for a marriage. "Marriage has no guarantees," quipped Erma Bombeck, "If that's what you're looking for, go live with a car battery."
It takes working at and adapting to but mostly it takes a friend.
That isn't to say that life was better when we were younger; it was just different and we react to each other differently — somewhat like a pair of favorite well-worn shoes we will choose every time over something new. It becomes a more comfortable friendship and instead of resenting all the time he isn't home, I am glad when he gets a chance to golf or go to lunch.
Nowadays, we are together all the time, and it is the moments we fill with our children, grandchildren and friends that change the pace of our life and make it richer.
Speaking of friendship, that is one of the pluses of aging; you have opportunity and time to be with good friends.
Several years ago, my friend Dawn gave me a pillow embroidered with, "Old friends are the best friends." It's a nice thought but not entirely true, as new friends can become great friends as well. It all depends on how much trust you can build.
Long-term friendships, especially those we had years ago that have proved to be healthy and supportive, are those we trust more. That doesn't mean new friends can't be just as trustworthy; we just need to take the time to find that out. We need to be sure they will like us, warts and all, and not reveal those warts to others.
Making new friends renews us and opens up new avenues of interest.
Well, I do go on, and right now you are probably way too busy trying to get your Christmas cards out and the shopping done. Sending out cards is a goodly expense and sometimes a bother, but the trade-off is each one we in turn find in our mailbox.
Making our lists and checking them twice give us a good reason to take a deep breath and think about the special people in our lives.
Loving and caring about others and creating good relationships are about the best gifts that we can give and receive.