Inspired by a friend’s ode to his pickup truck, I decided to give an ode to something in my life that has been with me through thick and thin but that has, in fact, seen better days as of late. – M&M
Oh sleeping in… what a cruel cruel mistress you’ve been to me through the years. We’ve seen it all together, that is, as long as “all” occurred after 11 a.m.
I remember when I was just a wee lad, a school boy if you will, and my dad resorted to using a spray bottle to separate us as we lay there in my bed basking in the glory that was our time together. I may have been on time to school, but I never forgot you through the day because I knew you’d always be there for me the next morning.
In the summertime of my tween years, my parents instituted a 10 a.m. cut-off time on our blissful slumber together. I remember my mom calling from work around that time each morning to make sure I was out of bed. I must have been a bad liar or your influence on me was just too much, because she’d always know when we’d been together. Maybe she could hear it in my voice.
Either way, I’d leave you each day for a fun-filled afternoon of MTV’s beach house, little league baseball, or swimming in our above-ground pool. But then, like the bride of a soldier who awaits the return of her husband from battle, you were there waiting for me when I finally made my way back to our bed each night.
During high school, you never made me late for class, but you were the reason I rarely ate breakfast. It was you who made me forsake ironing my clothes. It was you who pushed me into the arms of hooded sweatshirts, nylon warm-up suits, and gym shorts. It was you who made me defy the normal limits of driving speed set by local authorities just to make it to class on time. And yet, I never complained because our love affair was deep and it was true.
In college, you were with me freshman year on Tuesdays and Thursdays when my first class wasn’t until after lunch. Who am I kidding? You were with me on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays as well. Good thing they didn’t take attendance…oh, wait… You were with me on the Saturdays when I didn’t have to work and when I did, you were the reason I usually clocked in a few minutes late.
Unlike some people who shy away from houses of worship during their freshman year because of some form of loose living on Saturday night, my love affair with you was the reason behind my spotty Sunday morning church attendance that first year away from home.
When I got married, you graciously accepted without complaint, the new dynamic in our relationship. You welcomed my young bride into our relationship with open arms. And although we abandoned you that first morning after we were married for a 6 a.m. flight to the Bahama’s, you understood and never held a grudge. In fact, you were there patiently waiting for us the next morning in our ocean view hotel room on Nassau’s famed Cable Beach. If you were ever jealous of her, you never let on and for that, I thank you.
After grad school, I joined the ranks of the working world and it was then, for the first time in our storied history, that our relationship was put to the test. As the demands of the full-time professional life crowded you further and further out of my life, you were relegated to the weekends. I often found myself feeling guilty in the arms of an afternoon nap, unable to forget all that we’d been through together. And yet, when I returned to you on Saturdays, holidays, and occasional vacations, you were always there. It was as if we’d never skipped a beat.
Then it happened. We both know what I’m talking about. That fateful day in November 2009 when I signed the divorce papers on our storied 28-year relationship. There was no screaming, no fighting, no messy legal battles. You gracefully accepted the blow I dealt you with grace and honor. We said our goodbyes and we parted ways. That was it.
And although we don’t see each other on a regular basis any more, I still find myself sneaking back to your arms every now and then on days when my alarm clock isn’t set correctly or when events out of my control keep me awake past 11 p.m. the night before. But it’s just not the same anymore. I know I should cherish our time together, but I just feel guilty after a morning with you. Don’t take this the wrong way either, it’s not you that’s changed. It’s me.
It’s me who’s been tempted by the fruit of another. It’s me who’s tasted the sweet intoxicating cup of waking up early. It’s me who no longer finds satisfaction in your faithful arms.
But let’s not get emotional. We had a great run, you and me. For years we were thick as thieves despite the ardent efforts of other people and institutions who tried to tear us apart.
With a new baby girl at home now, I have a feeling it will be a long time before we see each other again. Little Izzy may even prove to be the final nail in the coffin that used to be our relationship. But life is like that, isn’t it? Change can be good and exciting, but with anything new, we usually lose something old.
No one can take away the 28 years we spent together in the bliss of youthful love. Our memories will sustain us in our later years and maybe, just maybe… our sordid love affair can continue on in the lives of my children. I only hope I will love, honor, and cherish them half as much as you have loved me.
And if by some chance I return to you in the twilight of life -like a dog faithfully awaiting the return of his master, I know you’ll be there waiting for me.