“I remember the first moment I saw you in the store, Leo. You were the new boy in town and all the girls were talking.” Margret recollected to her husband. The soft sound of his chuckle echoed in her head as she continued..
“We have been through a lot, you and I.” Her words froze as the cold hard truth set in.
“The wasted years we spent yelling at each other in our youth, not seeing the other’s perspective. If only I could go back, I’d slap some sense into that stupid girl. Learning to grow together and become one is the second most difficult thing a couple will learn to do. The hardest thing is maintaining that togetherness.”
“But, we had some great times too. I’ll never forget the look in your eyes when you first held Emily. I was so scared you would be upset that I didn’t give you a boy. But you didn’t even care. She was your pride and joy.”
A soft breeze blew across the front porch, as Margret continued her morning memoirs’. “The winds of change brought us a lot. closer. It seemed there for a while every step forward was met with two steps back. Employment was down and you lost your job. Bills stacked up and stress was high. Somehow we managed though. We grabbed onto each other like two kids lost in a hurricane. Neither one of us knew how we would get by, but we did. You found another job, I started working part-time. and slowly but surely life began to piece itself together. Oh, and the mother-daughter arguments seemed to go on forever at times. Why you didn’t leave, I’ll never know. I would have” she chuckled.
A moment passed in silence as her memories continued. Leo was always there. He helped in every aspect of raising Emily. Margret loved having her neighbors come over complaining about their husbands. She would start bragging about how great of a father Leo was, the things he did around the house to help and how cheerful of a man he was. This would send them off in frustration, leaving Margret there in peace. Uncouth, perhaps, but Margret couldn’t resist doing it.
“I believe you took Emily going to college harder than I did. Don’t get me wrong it was hard for me too, but you did more house chores that summer than I ever remember. You painted the front yard fence, tightened all of the plumbing in the house, planted too big of a garden, anything you could lay your hands on you fixed, and I swear you were mowing the lawn every day.” Her laughter caught the best of her as she began to cough and hack while fighting to catch her breath. Old age has a way of making any moment awkward. Collecting herself from the laughter Margret continued. “The proudest moment came when you walked her down the isle to be married. You could see the pride beaming from your bold brown eyes. Your whole body screamed “This is my daughter!”. You always did have a way of expressing yourself without saying much. There were times you and I could carry a whole conversation and not say a word. Friends and family often marveled over it.”
“They say life isn’t easy, and that is so true. But with you, life has been an enjoyment. Besides, who in their right mind would want easy when they can have fun.” Placing her hand in his, she looked at the empty chair beside her.
“Thanks for the great times Leo.”