Ever since my son developed croup right before his second birthday, we've been blessed to have an inhaler for him to use when his breathing/coughing get really bad. Because he's still young (three), we use the mask that goes over his mouth for ten seconds while he breathes in the medicine. He snuggles up in my lap, we position the contraption over his mouth and nose, and then we push the button to make the steroid spray into the tube for him to inhale.
"Is it helping? Did it spray that time?" I sometimes ask, even though I can catch a whiff of the medicine as it escapes when I pull the plastic away.
"I think so. But I can't see it."
Since she was a baby, my daughter has slept with a little elephant lovie. It's one someone gifted us at the baby shower, and it was so loved, I invested in a second one as back-up for when this one was dirty. She still sleeps with it, although I don't think it gets cuddled as often as it did once up on a time, now that she's a big five-year-old.
The other day, in the car, my girl asked me which cloud was God's.
"What? What do you mean?"
"I mean, which one does He live in?"
We all say the vows in our wedding, "for better or for worse," but we don't really consider what that truly means. I've witnessed quite a few couples have to face the "for worse" part, in situations like Alzheimer disease, cancer, or simply old age. And when they grow even closer due to that "worse" part, it's a beautiful thing.
Today, Kathy Cretsinger is with us to talk about her fifty-seven year long relationship with her husband Jerry, and how they are facing the "for worse" in their life.
On February 22, 1963, I married my best friend, Jerry Cretsinger. We had a simple wedding in my parent’s living room. Nothing fancy, except it snowed. Jerry lived in the mountains of East Tennessee. In fact, it’s in the corner of NE Tennessee, where Tennessee juts out into North Carolina. There is always snow in the mountains. Our biggest fear was the possibility of him getting snowed in.
He didn’t get snowed in, and we were married by my brother-in-law, Joe Galloway. It was a small crowd. We never wanted anything fancy, just family.
We had three children, Diane, Larry, and Genice. Genice passed away when she was six years old, due to a hospital accident. When she died, Jerry and I learned to lean on each other.
You don’t realize how much you love someone until you have something bad happen. Our love has grown in the past fifty-seven years. It doesn’t feel like fifty-seven years, but it has been. We’ve watched our remaining children grow and bless us with four grandchildren.
When my children and I all came down with Flu A a few weeks ago, misery was shared and shared alike. Noses ran, coughs rang out at all hours day and night, and words were misconstrued to mean whatever my child decided they meant.
For instance, I overheard my five-year-old say to her brother, "You have to get sick before you can get better. Mommy said so."
Um. What does that even mean? I don't remember saying it, that's for sure.
But something else she said really did ring true. They were both taking Tamiflu. She wrinkled her nose, gave a little sigh, and said, "It tastes really gross, but if it makes me better, it's worth it."
The flu caught up with my family a few weeks ago. Despite all our precautions of getting the shot, washing hands, and trying to avoid being around anyone who had it, there it was. We found out a friend we'd been around had come down with it the night before my daughter did. Then, my son was down a day later. And I fell two days after that.
There's no telling where we picked it up. It could have been the same place our friends caught it. At the church building. The library. Preschool. A store. Who knows? It's all around us right now. But as rampant as the flu is, there's something worse out there. And I'm not talking about the Corona virus.
As many precautions as we take to not catch a physical ailment, can you imagine doing the same thing for a spiritual sickness? We obviously can't wear funny masks or remove germs by washing skin. But there has to be something. A vaccine, maybe?
Once upon a time, nineteen years ago tomorrow, a tall, skinny guy with curly black hair put his arm around this girl during a prayer. When the "amen" was over, we looked at each other and said, "We need to talk." You see, our friendship had been growing rapidly that winter semester, but we had both adamantly denied anything more was brewing. We were "just friends." And yet, when he pressed my ear to his chest during the prayer, when his fingers wove through mine earlier that evening, nothing felt more right.
"What are we doing?"
"I don't know."
"Where do we want this to go."
Neither of us knew the answer, except that we knew we didn't want it to stop. So, we decided to "see where it went and go from there." I was unofficially his girlfriend from that moment on, and I haven't regretted it since. We went on our first date two nights later, and we'll go on one tomorrow night, too. It's tradition, after all.
I used to hear people say "I love her more now than I did back then" about spouses they've been with a long time. I'd inwardly roll my eyes. How could I possibly love him more? But it's true.
In young romance, so much is about infatuation and attraction and feelings. Sure, you talk and get to know each other some, but nothing like what you learn by living together for fifteen and a half years.
And I am still learning things about my husband. He'll mention a story about something that happened when he was growing up, and I'll say, "I didn't know that about you." "Didn't you?" "No." "Huh." And our likes and dislikes change and merge, too, as we grow closer together. We learned to lean on each other through hard times and lean times. We've learned (to a point) what makes the other happy, and try to do little things just to get a smile.
I can't imagine doing life with anyone else. And I can't wait to see what's ahead as we continue to "see where this thing goes from here."
Did you and your spouse stumble into your relationship? Did you deny the growing feelings until you couldn't any more? I love stories like that, maybe because I lived one. Feel free to share yours!
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.