With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, you might think that in light of my recent string of bad dates, I would spend it being cynical. Seriously – my most recent date asked me if I ever wondered why a man like him could get older and his metabolism never slows down and as I got older mine did. I wanted to say to him, “Nope, never wondered it and you should never wonder about us having a second date.”
But not even a string of bad dates can taint this Valentine’s Day for me. You see, I had an epiphany one day while driving in the car with my grandmother. My grandmother reminds me of Jacqueline Onassis. She carries herself with such grace and dignity at all times. She is always dressed beautifully and always has her head held high. My grandfather died over 10 years ago and since that time, my grandmother had been seeing a very nice gentleman. She is in her 80s and he (who for identity purposes, we will call Mr. J) is in his 90’s. It warmed my heart to think about her spending time with someone special.
So imagine my surprise when I picked her up at the airport and she got in the car and started to cry. I didn’t know what to say at first, I had never seen her cry before. I patted her hand and asked her if she was okay. She looked at me and said, “I broke up with Mr. J.” I tried hard to stay focused while I processed that my grandmother was actually telling me a break-up story. I am good with having the break-up conversation with friends or my teenage daughters, but I wasn’t prepared to have one with my grandmother. I could hear the ache in her heart as she spoke. I remember so well the overwhelming sadness of having a broken heart. She went on with tears in her eyes and said “the problem was that Mr. J couldn’t commit, so I had to end it.”
That was the point at which I nearly rear-ended the car in front of me. Seriously, was she telling me that even in their 90’s men still can’t commit? Is the dating world still just as confusing and challenging in our 80’s as it is in our 20’s and 40’s?
As we pulled into the driveway to go into the house to see everyone, she put her hand on mine and gave me her final piece of dating advice. She said, “Whatever you do, don’t ever date a pilot who flies for Eastern Airlines.” I smiled thinking I could probably promise her that since I don’t meet a whole lot of people who even remember Eastern Airlines.
I am sure you are wondering how I can manage not to be cynical after hearing that even when we are 80, the dating world can still be tough. The reason why is because of the tears I saw her shed that day. I saw how deeply she loved Mr. J. How she had been willing to risk getting hurt so that she could find love again. Isn’t it neat to think that we are never too old to fall in love and that we should never be afraid to open our hearts up to be loved? That moment made me realize that I don’t ever want to stop being open to falling in love and feeling everything that comes with it.
I am happy to say that Mr. J got over his commitment issues. So this Valentines Day I am celebrating the fact that love is out there if you are open to letting it in. And who knows, maybe I will even put pilots back on my list of “okay” people to date.