My teenage daughter observes older couples occasionally while we are eating out, and remarks on how cute they are together. Usually they are in their 70’s and having a nice peaceful meal, quietly engaging in conversation.
She refers to these moments as “bagel moments.” I like that. From her perspective, she see “old people” sharing a sweet moment together… which is accurate.
She has made me aware of these special times now, I take notice of them more often. Once I remember looking at a couple she pointed out and I could see that the years had taken a toll on their faces, and they wore their wrinkles as badges of honor. He didn’t look at her and wonder why she doesn’t get Botox. He saw deep into her eyes the same young girl that he courted as a young man, got butterflies when they touched, and dreamed of marrying.
I see the kindness they show for one another when he passes her a sip of the coffee they share to save money, and the thoughtfulness of something so trivial and yet so gallant as the way he butters her bagel for her. She is fully capable of doing this, but why would he let her? He does it and passes the bagel over to her, as he and continues to butter his own. I wonder how many ‘bagels’ he has buttered for her through all the years.
Most people don’t have an easy life, and I am sure this couple has dealt with their own ups and downs, but here they sit with each other, and share a connection that very few people understand. Their kids have grown up and moved on, and grandchildren visit occasionally, but still they have each other.
They are comfortable in their silence. No need for forced conversation after 5 decades of marriage, what is so important that it must be said right now?
He eventually gets up and pulls her chair out for her and then helps her with her sweater. He steadies himself with his cane as he grabs the door and holds it as she walks out of the restaurant, and they walk away. I see them reach for each other’s hand at the same time… I guess they know the drill by heart.
Never once did he say, “I love you” to her as far as I could tell, but he showed her with his actions over and over. It got me thinking about the importance of the words “I love you.”
People use them this phrase all the time. I hear stars tell their fans they love them… but do they really? Or do they just love the fact that the fans love them?
I know couples who use the phrase “I love you” or “Love ya” regularly, but it’s clear that their actions don’t back up the words. My mom used to tell me, “Actions speak louder than words.” The older I get, the more I realize just how smart she was.
Pet lovers understand how their dogs display true love. You see, if you ever had a dog you never doubted how much it loved you because it would greet you at the door as if you’d been overseas for a year. In reality you were only gone 5 minutes to pick up some eggs and milk. My point is that even though your dog could not say the words “I love you,” this was understood by its actions. You feel how much you are truly loved, for just being you.
This is much harder with people because their actions don’t usually back up their words. Their seems to be too many conditions which are required before the label love can be bestowed upon them, and sometimes it only takes an argument to destroy the love. Where does all the love go?
So, back to my older couple now. Love is not about the moments when you SAY the words as much as it is about how the time FEELS between the uttered words.
If you are lucky enough to have a ‘bagel moment’ partner in your life, than words cannot truly express what you have found in your partner anyway. And if you need to hear the words repeatedly then try to share some peaceful quiet moments together, where you are not so much aware of your surroundings but rather more aware of who you are surrounded by.
I am blessed to have found my “bagel moment” wife, and I pray that I am around long enough to butter the heck out of her bagels (to the point where I get calluses;-) but you know what… I have a secret. These moments have nothing to do with bagels at all.
The secret is how you butter : )