"You know," I say, as the white lights from our Christmas tree dance across her clear eyes, I caress the flawless, gentle skin of her cheek, "I'm going to get old," I press aside a lock of blond hair that, like a velvet curtain in a old movie house, reveals her large, deep blue eyes. "I'm going to get old much faster than you."
My wife Amanda is 17 years younger than me, I am 43, she, 27. "I'll love you forever," she frowns, offended at the mere thought that she would ever find my sagging skin, creaking knees, or chaotic morning snorts unappealing. "You are my dream man," she says as she thrust her blonde head into my white t-shirt and closes her eyes, pressing her forehead hard into my chest, and she smiles, content. "I love you," I say as I run my fingers over her recently washed and beautifully chaotic, accidentally perfect mane.
Oddly enough, my dad was 17 years older than my mother. There are patterns in nature, birds, they say, fly south for the winter and the currents keep salty water moving across the globe, and it turns out, at least in the case of the Jones family, we follow familiar patterns as well.
I never thought I would replicate my father's life. I thought babies, families and dogs were for squares, and I never wanted a wailing child, or K-9 eager to play fetch, to ever interrupt my date with a mug of beer, or a rocks glass teeming with whiskey.
Today, at the dog park, as Daisy bounded towards a crusty old pug, and wiggled her bobbed tail at the sight of a spastic Terrier, I found myself, encases in gentle, subtle, happiness, better than the achy, bloated high I got as I dragged fermented hops out a bottle.
Today I find myself, smiling unconsciously, at a life I didn't particularly try to achieve, but one, that I stumbled upon on with accidental perfection.
A while back, Amanda and I kicked our way down the wet gravel of Doolin, in Ireland, just a mile from the Cliffs of Moher, it was frigid, and the icy drizzle, peppered our faces with uncomfortable pinpoints of stinging rain. The ornate restaurant seemed "good enough," as it was flanked by tour buses, and purple haired grandmas from Kansas slowly creaking their way off the massive people hauler and into the teeming restaurant. The building was crammed full, like the backpacks worn by 20 something college kids from England on holiday looking for an "authentic" Irish experience.
As the waiters, all in matching t-shirts sporting the restaurant's name, scurried quickly from table to table, bringing plate after plate of fish and chips to bulging tourist, Amanda and I, burst from the trap, back into the rain, and took in deep breaths, as if we had been submerged under water for too long. We walked for a quarter mile in the damp air, and pushed our way into a nondescript little pub. It was serene and soft inside, only the clouded natural light, barely pressing through the smudged widows lit the place. We sipped Guiness, as a handful of American's quietly chatted and laughed. Amanda and I warmed by the popping, hot embers, housed by a 500 year old fire place. As Amanda pressed the spoon into her mouth, her eyes widened, "This is the best claim chowder I've ever had!" she grinned, as we both dipped into the white creamy soup. After a couple of hours (and more than a couple of beers) we began gently singing to each other, composing a little song, then as we giggled, recorded the tune into her cell phone, then we kissed. It was accidental perfection.
In 6 months, Amanda will give birth to our first child. I'm much older than my wife, like my father before me. The parallels may simply be accidental, but I know, they are perfect.