October 23, 2012

The one that got away

Remember your idiot years?  Those were the years when we thought 1.) we knew everything 2.) our parents knew nothing 3.) our maturing process was complete.

Right about age 17, I would say, wouldn’t you?

For me, it started earlier.  Age 14 more like it.  And it lasted until after I was married (granted, I married young).  You can ask my aunts, who threw me a wedding shower at which I would eat none of their labors from the beautiful spread on the buffet because Daniel and I were in the middle of a week-long fast.  Yikes!  That’s an example of spiritual immaturity if I’ve ever seen one.  My dear aunts, if you’re reading this, do forgive me.  I was a dumb kid.  Of course, you knew that at the time – I was the one in the dark.

Perhaps the most glaring evidence of our stupidity during our idiot years was the person we were “in love with,” the person we thought we couldn’t live without.  Usually he was a nice enough boy.  In fact, most of our high school boyfriends have become relatively fine men, have they not?  But at the time, they were just as idiotic as we were, and together we made quite an irritating pair.

On the evening that my 3-year-relationship with Mr. Idiot came to an end, I was watching TV with him at his parents’ house.  He had come home from college to visit me, and he had I'd rather be on campus right now than sitting here with you written all over his face.  I knew it was over.  The writing had been on the wall for a number of weeks.

When he drove me home, I said, “You want to break up, don’t you?” (or something like that), and he said, “Yeah” (or something like that).  The punk pulled up to the curb – the curb – in front of my parents’ house, and I stepped out of the car and walked to the front door alone.  He drove away.  I went into the house and collapsed into a heap on the welcome mat.  

Here’s the point of this post.  
They are such patient individuals.

They run behind the two-wheeled bike for hours, sweating through their polo shirts, waiting for you to stop wobbling.  They nod their heads but stick to their guns when you stand before them insisting that no one else in the world has such stubborn parents.  They stop kissing you when you say you’re not a little girl anymore, and they wait.
They wait for you, while you fly around with your damp wings, and they are there for you, for your first crash-landing.  They are there to pick you up off the welcome mat and kiss you like the little girl you still are. 

My favorite memory with my dad from furlough this summer was the day we spent at Carrie’s family’s lake house, fishing for bass and catfish on the edge of the retaining wall, bating hooks for my kids and reeling for them when the fish were fighting too hard.  We were a team, just like old times, taking on the beasts of the water under a sparkling Michigan sun. 

There was this one bass that got on my line, and I knew I it was a hum-dinger.  I called to my dad to get the net, but either we hadn’t freed it from storage yet, or it wasn’t where he could reach it, I don’t remember.  Regardless, he didn’t have it, and we stood over my huge catch - he and I on the retaining wall, and that big bass pulling on my line at the surface of the water – until SNAP!  It got away.

I was disappointed, to say the least.  I almost jumped in after it, and I probably could have caught up with it.  The cocky thing was ambling off like a guy who just got rid of a girlfriend by dropping her off at the curb.

But my disappointment didn’t last long.  It melted away completely when I looked beside me and saw a strapping, bearded man in his sixties who was still there, and would always be there, for me.