Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Ladies: I am sorry to have to tell you this.

Men: I am every sorrier to have to tell you this.


My husband gets me flowers alllll. the. friggin. time. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but he definitely puts the “man” in romance. Now, before you all beat me with miniature violins while screaming:

let me clarify that I am not bragging, simply SHARING. Sharing is caring okay?!?! And truth be told, it took me a while to develop a full appreciation for the showering of sweetness. I LOVE it now and am so grateful to have such a doting husband…. but, when we were first dating, sadly, my response was more like: 

I’m not a scrooge, it’s just that he went a weee bit overboard and did so many sweet things I wasn’t used to…. For instance, ev-er-y morning when we were dating I would wake up to a page long “love text.” Then, he would often leave me an old school handwritten note on the table as well. I basically ended up with such a large collection I could have started a cupid exhibit:

Front view

Front view

Oh yeah, there’s more folks:

Side view.

Side view.

Like, aren't you getting a hand cramp babe?!?! 

Like, aren’t you getting a hand cramp babe?!?! 

Fast forward to 2.5 years of marriage, I freaking lovelovelove this stuff and shoulda backhanded myself for my lukewarm appreciation. I mean, it’s slowed down to a “normal” amount, but I think we’ve hit our love note stride. Now, you might be thinking “foolish newlyweds– just wait 30 years and you’re lucky if he looks in your general direction.” But I have to disagree! I believe this is part of his nature and always will be, even when he is Mr. Gray…..which leads me to today’s theme (ABOUT DAMN TIME RIGHT):  Mr. Grays can STILL be romantic and oooeeyygoooeeeyloveeeydoveeey.

Check it….

My cousins Ray and Diane (who are more like aunt/uncle to me) just had their 50th wedding anniversary.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50. 

I literally got tired just typing that. I mean, this many years of having the covers stolen is definitely the ultramarathon of love & dedication. Personally, I’m just pumped Abe and I have made it over 2 years and can still look in each other’s general direction — well sorta– my husband basically just stares off to the left or the right, or anywhere where I’m not looking when I talk.  

Lazy-eyed half-listener.

Flower-giving excessive love note writer.

Ya win some, ya lose some. 

So back to Mr. & Mrs. Gray. To celebrate this momentous occasion, their children threw them a huge celebration. But not just any celebration– this was a mini wedding reception! Why? Because they never had a real one. 

  The way he still looks at her........

The way he still looks at her……..

In 50 years of marriage, this sweet couple has been through the ringer: Ray’s deployment to Iraq, 30 years in night school, and the loss of an adult son. But the upside is their faith and devotion to each other has made them stronger in love than ever before. The love was ooooozing out of them during the celebration. And specifically, what touched and amazed me was Mr. GrayRay’s romantic expression and honoring of his wife throughout the entire reception! 

He starts off strong, like Ryan Gosling in “The Notebook” strong: 

THEN, after this epic proposal, he goes on to describe the 10 things he has loved and appreciated most about her over the years, starting with the serendipitous story of how they met (later illustrated by their son below): 

  Driving the same car, Diane drove the  wrong  way (or in retrospect, the RIGHT way) on a one way street heading straight for her future husband. I mean, we're Polish. What do you expect? lol   Best. mistake. ever! 

Driving the same car, Diane drove the wrong way (or in retrospect, the RIGHT way) on a one way street heading straight for her future husband. I mean, we’re Polish. What do you expect? lol   Best. mistake. ever! 

In front of all their family and friends, he continued his praise by giving her all the credit for every aspect of their relationship and for essentially, being the glue in their marriage. It just made her sparkle. And beyond Ray’s heartfelt words, the way he looked into her eyes while he danced with her set the bar for any love story. The whole evening was a public display of romance and love.

While it’s adorable to see a young couple smoochin’ in a mall, it’s moving to see an older couple holding hands walking down the street. They have lived through the “for better or for worse” and have chosen every single day to stay committed to each other. That’s real love — a daily decision made over and over and over saying “I’m with you.” 

With that being said, in the midst of Mr. & Mrs. Gray’s anniversary celebration, I found this oh-so-true sign:

I adore this saying because it DOES get better with age….and that includes ROMANCE! <3 <3 <3 

The Force is with Mr. Gray

The Force is with Mr. Gray

My father gave my brother several creative nicknames as a kid. If you were a parent of a super common name like Michael in the ’80s/’90s, you likely felt this pain: They would yell out his name in the playground: “MIIICHAAEEEL!!!!!!” 

26 heads would turn….none of them his.  

So my dad came up with a few nicknames that to this day will whip my brother’s head around faster than you can say ContinuingCareRetirementCommunity. They are “Jake!” and “Obi-Wan!” Seems random right? Well, sorta. Jake was indeed random, but it did the job. The more appropriate nickname, however, was “Obi-Wan”— you know, as in this dude:  

  Obi-Wan Kenobi:

Obi-Wan Kenobi: “Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. The truth is often what we make of it; you heard what you wanted to hear, believed what you wanted to believe.” 

Was my dad a huge Star Wars fan? Not particularly. Did my brother think he was a wise sage who by nature of simply being himself KNEW EV-ER-Y-THANG? OHHHH yeeeeeah. Was he typically wrong? Bingo! So while my younger brother Michael lacked the wisdom he thought he was blessed with at the ripe age of 10, Mr. Gray on the other hand, has got it in spades. At least, that’s my not-so-humble opinion ;o)

Lemme explain…

Seniors know things. They just KNOW. Kind of like mothers know if their kids are sick or women get an eerie feeling if their men are cheating. It makes sense though if you think about it. They have the most life experience, so they must have a deeper and wiser perspective on most topics, from romance, to health, to family life.

The issue is, many of us (myself included as I will show you), don’t often realize it or take advantage of this wisdom and acquired knowledge. Instead, we hear what they saybut we don’t listen. Lemme present a husband/wife analogy with which we are all TOO familiar. 

Ladies want their husbands to listen to them like this:

“Go ahead. I am hanging on your every word honey.” 

And luckily, our husbands give us that undivided attention. 

Sike. You know it’s really more like this: 

“Can YOU BE-LIEVE Suzie didn’t even ASK me if she could borrow my pen and just….” I wonder if I should trade Ben Roethlisberger this week for mmmmmm burger. Actually…Doublebaconcheesburger. Beer WITH my doublebaconcheesburger. 

Like hubbies illustrate to their wifey’s on the regular, when Mr. Gray speaks, we “youngsters” are physically present (gold star for us!), but that’s about it. We see him. We hear him. Buuuuut let’s be honest, we don’t really care what’s being said and the message doesn’t really stick. However, we DO care about feigning interest to be polite, because anything else would be, well, rude. Unfortunately, this nodyourheadupanddown interaction is pretty useless and a disservice to both parties; We are passing by these stories, ideas, and opinions like stale toast, when they really are gems– Jennifer Aniston damn that engagement ring is huge she must need finger insurance GEMS!!!

Don’t believe me? Just watch…

“Judge, I’d like to take the stand and make my opening argument against MYSELF for the mistreatment of Mr. Gray.”

Circa 1997, my grandpa was in his mid 80’s and always had unique ideas. As a teenager, I definitely was guilty of the senior “yeahyeah okok suresure that’s nice” with him. I loved him dearly and knew he was smart, but I still had that subconscious he’s just being an old fogey reaction when he told me his wacky ideas. I’ll never forget being in the bathroom we shared (he lived with us) when he went on a mini-lecture about the harms of chemicals in regular deodorant. And then he whips out his “natural” crystal deodorant that looked like a piece of kryptonite and/or stalactite yanked from Luray Caverns. 

Let us pause…………………………………       ………………………………………………     …………………………………………………………………….. …………………………      ……………………………………….     …………………………………………………    ……………………………………..  ………………………………….

Yes, that’s right folks. THAT is basically what he was recommending I switch to from my smooth, white, lovely, normal, Dove deodorant. MR. GRAY YOU CRAYCRAY. My 16 year old self laughed and said something along the lines of “got it Grandpa, I’m sure it’s AWESOME and I’m so worried (not) about chemicals going into my armpit. Thanks but no thanks. You do you booboo.” 

Well, KARMAKARMACHAMELEON. Look who (me) develops chemical friggin’ sensitivity 12 years later? Yep, now I’m a synthetic fragrance free fanatic. I even give people the squinty eye and shake my head when they wear strong cologne or lotions saying to myself “Uh, can’t you see you’re killing yourself slowly and me as well? OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!!!!”

Luckily, there is growing selection of these products today and I’m always on the lookout. Well lookey what I pass by in the grocery store last week:

  The crystal and all his crystal friends. 

The crystal and all his crystal friends. 

Yup, there she is in all her glory. Not only would I use this deodorant today. I would ROCK THIS ROCK. Today, many people are aware that chemicals, including those in our deodorant, impact our endocrine system, contributing to cancer, and all these other horrible things. But back 20 years ago, we didn’t know. No one was talking about that stuff. There was no Dr. Oz. No organic aisle at Giant. Fools we were….but Mr. Gray is no fool. He knew. MY Mr. Gray knew. 

He used his good ole noodle and thought to himself: “Hmmmm….chemicals….on the body…on the body means in the body…A+B=C…this is not a good combination.” 


But that’s the beauty of seniors! As we are all caught up in the sheepish do what everyone else is doing rat race, they are capable of and see the value in taking a step back to evaluate; they are able to think about things through a unique lens and arrive at common sense conclusions. What my grandpa realized about his deodorant wasn’t rocket science — but it was WISE. 

Shoulda listened. 

Well, judge, guess I am guilty as charged. But I promise I will never again doubt Mr. Gray’s wisdom. Why? Because he’s got a crystal ball and it showed him to use crystal deodorant.