As we soak in the last weeks of summer heat, we find ourselves reminiscing about what summer meant when we were children and young adults. Endless carefree days, new friends, and intense romances. We got to talking about romances through the ages. Muriel is retired and an empty nester while Sophia is squarely in the middle aged category with young children. So we thought we'd share our thoughts on love from the different sides of our lives.
I could star as the heroine of a classic reunion romance. I met my husband in the first year of college, we dated and broke up and then he found me a decade later on Google. A cup of coffee turned into rekindled friendship. I was coming off a divorce and in no mood to jump into a relationship. He was at the point in his life when he wanted to settle down. But Tom wasn’t going to let go easily and slowly healed my heart and managed to convince me to marry him at a secluded beach on St John in the U.S Virgin Islands.
Our first year of marriage was idyllic. We were both doing well in our careers, spent Saturday mornings as the quintessential urban couple; perusing bookstores and drinking coffee. We took vacations where I brought a laptop and spent more time than I ought to have answering those ever important emails because “out of office” has no meaning in the digital age.
We bought a house, painted it ourselves and realized that reality is nothing like the home renovation shows on TV. But we still remember that first night in our new home on an air mattress.
We had a lot of trouble having children and it was the first test of our marriage. One that could have ripped us apart. Tom was okay not having any children and I’ve always wanted a big family with at least 4 or 5. It was the first time that we established a basis for decision making in our marriage that still holds true today; when we want different things, the person who wants it more perseveres. It’s not about power for us, but about loving the other more than we love ourselves. So we kept trying and he’d rub my feet when I couldn’t sleep, and hold me when I cried as I faced miscarriage after miscarriage. Eventually we had beautiful, healthy, twin boys who are now six years old.
Children change and test marriages in ways that are both similar and different for each couple. For us it was the sleep deprivation from two babies who we desperately tried to sync on sleep and eat schedules. As the babies grew into toddlers and slept in between us, Tom longed for the years when he had me all to himself and when every second of our life wasn’t scheduled. Everyone told us to have regular date nights but I couldn’t bear to leave my babies for even a minute.
But then I realized that just like my kids, love also needs care and feeding. Date nights don’t work for us so we’ve taken annual kid free weekends and even a three week trip to Europe to fill our love bucket. While I fiercely miss my children, I also miss my husband. I won’t say this stage is easy or we have it all figured out. I don’t bring my laptop on vacations and can’t give two hoots about the never ending crises at work. Tom has learned to follow schedules. He’s never slept on the couch and we have been married for nine years, together for eleven.
Tom tells me he loves me every single day. Even in our angriest, most frustrated moments, we never forget how much we need each other. He has a countdown to the day we will be empty nesters and I make the kids promise that they will live with their mama forever. Despite their solemn assurances, I know one day our children will leave and live their own lives, but what Tom and I have will persevere through the ages.
I met my husband, Ron, in the fall of 1966 in Los Angeles, California. There was no dramatic season changes no leaves turning color, no wood smoke in the air. But even in that subtropical climate, the sun began to set earlier, the light changed – and so did my life.
As a young couple, Ron and I took off on weekends to explore. Though Ron was a journalist to make a living, he was a painter at heart, and, hand in hand, we visited art communities up and down the coast. We were sitting on the sand in Long Beach listening to the radio when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. The world seemed as hopeful and romantic as we were.
Then three children - true little domestic terrorists - joined us as we moved from Los Angeles to Oregon, following Ron’s newspaper jobs.
Dogs and cats invaded to round out our merry band. During that period we lost a business, and I broke my back going down a slide with the children, There was little time or occasion for romance. Then one desperate night Ron found several ounces of gin in a bottle in the back of a cabinet, but I bemoaned the lack of a mixer and the fact that I couldn’t possibly drink it straight. Determined, he rummaged in the fridge and emerged victorious with a pitcher of lime Kool-Aid. Pseudo gin and tonics! They set the mood and we did the rest.
We’ve been empty-nesters for some time now, and that’s been wonderful for a long while. There was always time for romance. Then illness and disability elbowed their way into our lives. But at a time when you’d expect romance to be completely extinguished, it came to new life in a way that’s sort of cerebral and yet more emotionally powerful than it’s ever been,
Now there’s time to think. Age, experience, the very wonder of still having each other after all these hurdles and years, gives a heightened sense of appreciation for every loving glance and touch, for every accident or annoyance that we determinedly turn into laughter because we don’t want to darken a moment of our precious time.
We feel as though we’ve had it all, lost it all, and somehow got it all back without ever losing the grounding sanity of the love that brought us together in the very beginning. Now basking in the glory of kids who’ve developed into the best people you’d ever want to know, grandchildren and great grandchildren who bristle with promise, we sit back and watch it all with smiles on our faces because, somehow, we did that. And it’s made a kind of eternal spring of all these fall and winter days.
Love through The Ages
Muriel and Sophia are hopeless romantics, we have to be to pour our hearts out into the books we write. We’re both excited to share August Heartwarming releases with Anna J. Stewart and Beth Carpenter.
We’ve given you a glimpse into our romantic lives, we’d love to hear your thoughts about keeping the romance alive, whether you’re still looking for someone special or have been together all your life.
This is a fantastic post, Muriel and Sophia! I feel as if I just read the most the synopses for the most wonderful books, and now I can't wait to read the entire manuscript! :) Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your own HEAs!ReplyDelete
Thank you Kate!Delete
Great post, ladies! For us, always showing appreciation for even the tiniest things, helps to keep our relationship growing stronger each day. Congratulations on your releases!ReplyDelete
I agree, the tiniest gestures go a long way.Delete
I have to say, I think this is the first post that brought me to tears. It was so lovely, and the true stories of the novels we love to write and to read. I'm so happy to know you both.ReplyDelete
Thank you! The post was Muriel's idea!Delete
Wow--enjoyed learning more about you and your personal stories. You've both been through a lot and yet remain upbeat and loving. Very inspiring stories lifelong romances. Thanks so much for providing those glimpses into your writer's life! Congratulations on your wonderful August releases!ReplyDelete
I'm starting my day with tears in my eyes. What lovely, loving and real stories. You are both so very blessed and we, as your readers glean the benefit of lives well lived. It's still true: Love is all there is.ReplyDelete
Thank you Muriel and Sophia for sharing these lovely and personal perspectives on romance and love! Your insight and 'true grit' to preserve the balance as well as the magic in your romantic loves are inspiring. I can see why and how,you both became romance authors. Congrats on your releases, which I'm currently enjoying!ReplyDelete
I just saw the typo 'loves' instead of 'lives' which I meant to write but now realize the former works, too. :)Delete
What a beautiful post! What an inspiration you both are to new couples. We have some good friends who are about to get married (okay, children of good friends) and I'm going to forward this post to them. Fabulous perspective and advice!ReplyDelete
Ladies, what beautiful stories from both of you. Reading about your lives makes it easy to see why you both write such fabulous, emotional loves stories. How many times are we told "write what you know?" It's plain you do. Wishing you the best in the future.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your stories. Congrats on the releases!ReplyDelete
This is a keeper post! Thank you, Sophia and Muriel, for your honesty and inspiration. Last night, my husband danced the two-step with me around the bed. He hates dancing.ReplyDelete
Beautiful and inspiring stories, Sophia and Muriel. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful inside look at life and love and romance and how it grows and changes! When characters in a book get their HEA ending, this is what I picture. Thank you so much for sharing.ReplyDelete
So enjoyed this peek into your lives. Such a "heartwarming" post. And I think both should be books! Thanks for sharing your HEA!ReplyDelete
Well. Congratulations, Ladies. You both left me choked up today. And what a perfect post to read on my 24th anniversary. It doesn't seem possible to love my husband more than I did when I married him 24 years ago, but somehow I do. Or at least I love him different - deeper and stronger maybe. Either way, I've decided to keep him for at least another 24 (;ReplyDelete
Happy Anniversary, Carol!!Delete
Happy Anniversary Carol!! And...I feel exactly the same way about my husband. We will be 23 years next month. ( :Delete
Sophia and Muriel, there are no words for how beautiful this post is. I'll try a few with heartfelt, honest, deeply touching and just so very real. Love isn't perfect and the journey is wavy with peaks and troughs, but as you both relay, it's worth it. Reading both of your posts made me choke up with emotion. Reading Sophia's and identifying with much of it and then reading Muriels and getting a glimpse at what's yet to come...you two got me right in the heart.ReplyDelete
Sophia, we honeymooned in St. Thomas and hiked St. John during that trip. We loved it so much that we went back and stayed on St. John for our anniversary.
Muriel, you painted such a beautiful and honest picture of your life that it makes me look forward to the future. I wish I could meet you in person someday!
And congratulations to all of you with August releases!!
What beautiful stories!! I loved reading both perspectives.ReplyDelete
For me, keeping love alive means making one another a priority, and being forgiving and remembering to demonstrate love in our marriage on an ongoing basis. And trying our best not to take one another for granted.
Hi all, Muriel couldn't find her password to come on and comment. She asked if I'd thank everyone who came on. She also said to thank Sophia for all the heavy lifting. But I'm sure it was more equal than she thought. I didn't get back to my computer yesterday so this is a day late.ReplyDelete
This is a brilliant writing and very pleased to find this site. I couldn’t discover to much different information on your blog. I will surely be back again to look at some other important posts that you have in future.ReplyDelete
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