We’ve all seen enough Valentine’s Day ads, fine jewelry fliers, and romantic comedies to know that the powers that be have fit the image of love into a neat little heart-shaped box tied with a bow and served up with a dozen roses and a side of karats. But in a lifestyle where nothing is ‘normal’ and holidays happen whenever we and our spouses happen to be in the same city together, it bears to question…
What does love look like?
Sometimes love looks like the movie-typical flowers and chocolates that we have come to equate with romance. Sometimes. But most of the time love doesn’t look anything like we expect it to. Therefore, we often miss it entirely because we are so ultra focused on the form that we have been engrained to believe it is ‘supposed’ to take.
I have heard boldly declared from outsiders looking in (more often than I’d like to count) that ‘aviation marriages can’t flourish’. That we Pilot Wives are inevitably doomed to an existence of infidelity, misery, and ultimately divorce. However, we should not, cannot, will not allow the worldly, Valentines-shaped expectations of others to blind us to our real, beautiful, aviation-shaped love!
There’s this place just across the way. It’s little more than a small, privately owned house on a couple acres of land, but they keep the most beautiful ornamental gardens full of amazing flowers that I have never seen before! And once a year they open their gates and sell a handful of plants that you don’t find anywhere else to the public.We cannot allow the worldly, Valentines-shaped expectations of others to blind us to our real, beautiful, aviation-shaped love! Click To Tweet
Last Saturday was that glorious, much anticipated day! Anyone who knows me already knows that I greatly look forward to this sale because, well…plants! Of course, we can buy the everyday variety of garden flowers at the big box, but this is a breathtaking assortment of exotics and unusuals that you won’t find sitting on the orange or blue shelves. The gates open at 0900, and some of the more exotic foliage is gone by 0930. Point being, be there when those gates swing open if you want to shop a full selection!
Here’s the kicker…this year it decided to rain on opening day. By which, of course, I mean torrential downpours complete with flood warnings. However, rain or shine they still open and those desirables still disappear like Double Tree cookies at a Pilot Wife convention. So guess what? On my Fly Guy’s only day off he slogged through boot sucking mud, his clothes soaked through (whether from the rain or choking Texas humidity it’s hard to say), and pulled a little blue kiddie wagon around behind him while his wife gleefully filled it up with not-so-cheap plants.
Of course, there was this one plant. I was totally mesmerized with it – a plant called an ‘ice plant’ that really doesn’t fit anywhere in our yard and makes no sense at all for our landscape. He let me have that one too…albeit with a sideways glance or two. Then this awesome guy paid for them out of his hard earned money. No complaints. No second thoughts. Not even when the sweet little old lady who runs the show announced proudly, “Congratulations! You are our biggest spender so far today!”
Yay us!?!? (Insert sheepish grin)
Here’s the thing, friends. Our love doesn’t always look exactly the way we want it or expect it to. And it definitely doesn’t look the way society tells us it’s supposed to. Especially not in a life filled with long-distance good nights and missed birthdays. But love by any other name is still love! In my case and yours, beautiful, precious, sweet, aviation-shaped love.
This week love looked like my husband taking his crazy wife to the opening day of a local outdoor plant sale on his day off…in the pouring rain…and letting her have that weird plant she desperately ‘needed’ even though it made no sense to him. Do you know he even worked extra hours last week so I could have anything I wanted? Well, he did. How sweet is that? Sweeter than all the boxes of chocolates money can buy, that’s what!
I know he was soggy, hot, sweaty, cranky, and more than a little miserable. It would’ve been easy for me to miss the love of the gesture through the blinding sheets of rain and the irritated scowl (especially after I made him go back home for the checkbook I forgot while I guarded our precious plants…and added a few more to the pile). But he did it anyway. Willingly. Because he knew it mattered to me.
Did you catch that last part? Because it’s really important. Love means that what matters to your spouse matters to you…even when you don’t understand it.
Sometimes I think we are missing love in the bigger picture. We have lost sight of the heart behind the gesture. We listen to the world telling us our marriages cannot possibly thrive through the distance. We let ourselves focus on the pouring rain instead of the blooming flowers. We expect love to be tied up with a cute little ribbon in a red, heart-shaped box and completely miss the beauty of love served up in a little blue kiddie wagon on a rainy Saturday.
Friends, I’m begging you…
Don’t miss love because it looks like a freshly mowed lawn on his only day off, a Double Tree cookie toted back from 700 miles away, a full tank of gas when you know you left the car on empty, an extra trip worked to pay for that thing that needs replacing, standing by you in the TSA line even though he has a KCM out, a phone call after an exhausting day of flights, or a million other gestures we overlook because we have been trained to believe love only comes in one shape and size. Our love? Well, it’s shaped like an airplane, my friends, and that’s perfectly, fantastically okay.
So stop and ask yourself an important question: What did love really look like today? Are there gestures you have overlooked because they don’t fit into our preconceived notions of love? Are we allowing other people’s ideas of a perfect 9-5 relationship blind us to the everyday beauty of our own aviation marriages? Are we intentionally seeking out the flowers in the rain?Aviation marriages are beautiful, my friends.
Don’t miss love.Angelia (a fellow Pilot Wife)
Just Winging It: Prayers for My Pilot Wife (autographed)
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