Well, I’ve learned three things so far on this vacation.

1) Cancun is an amazing location for some top-notch people watching. I’ve witnessed everything from speedos to hairy backs to what I can only suspect is a boob job gone terribly wrong.

2) Whenever I send my Dad to get drinks at the bar, they will inevitably be virgin drinks… No matter what I ask him to order.

3) It is really not easy to type an entire blog on an iPad. (Although I still love it. Thank you, Steve Jobs.) But I do apologize in advance for formatting mistakes.

But really, #1 is the most intriguing… And it started on the flight here.

As I was walking through the terminal at Dulles Airport, I spotted a really young couple being overly affectionate. She was wearing heels and skinny jeans, clutching his arm like he was being washed away in a flood. And he was wearing a bright orange Abercrombie t-shirt. They couldn’t have been more than 17 years old… perhaps not yet old enough to know that PDAs are generally found to be annoying by anyone in the immediate vicinity. At one point, while trailing at least four feet behind them, I swear I heard the slurping sound from one of their high school kisses. Give me a break!

I boarded the flight with a bit of relief. As I nestled into my seat and began the “Which seat belt is mine?” dance, something caught my eye. The cabin lights were glistening off something… And my eyes followed the trail of lights. And that’s when I saw our favorite teenage couple boarding my fight to Cancun.

You have got to be kidding me?!

The lights kept glistening, and as my eyes lowered, I saw the reason why.

The girl, who may or may not still be wearing a training bra, was in a t-shirt, bedazzled in rhinestones that read: JUST MARRIED.

I sighed. Loudly. I looked out the window and sighed again. Funny, God. Very funny.

They held hands even as they sat down… in the seats directly behind me. I reached for my iPhone, hoping my music could drown out the slurping sounds that would inevitably return.

What is it with these children getting married these days? Is there not a law against it yet? What happened to first attending college, getting a job, learning life lessons, or transitioning from breast milk to 2%?

What if I had married at 17? Or 20, or however old this boy and girl are? I would be a completely different person today. And sitting there on that plane, I begin to wonder if that would have necessarily been a bad thing.

As the questions ran through my mind and we reached our cruising altitude, I noticed another couple across the aisle from me. They were older, maybe in their late thirties. They seemed “normal.” Appropriate levels of affection, laughter and adult conversation. I wondered if they had been married when they were 17…

The pilot came on the loudspeaker to announce an emergency landing in Orlando due to some maintenance issues. Not exactly what you want to hear at 30,000 feet in the air, but there’s nothing I could do about it. So I just sighed and leaned back in my seat.

The older couple across the aisle caught my eye again, because she was now clearly upset by the pilot’s announcement. She was crying and he was comforting her. I wanted to lean over and tell her that the plane was most likely not going to plummet to the earth in a ball of fire, but I was too busy watching how much her husband loved her. He held her and caressed her arm, telling her it would be okay. It was sweet.

That’s what I want, I thought. 

The plane landed just fine. We didn’t lose a wing or an engine. Switched planes and were on our way to Cancun again.

As I went through customs in Mexico, I struck up a conversation with the child bride and groom. And, much to my chagrin, they were a really sweet couple. Possibly still taking Flinstones chewable vitamins, but sweet nonetheless.

The truth is, I was a little jealous. Of both couples. I think my life could be pretty cool had I married at 17. I’d be celebrating my 14th wedding anniversary and vacationing with five adorable, rambunctious kids in tow.

And I was definitely jealous of the older couple. They were only a few years older than me, but showed me something I could have, something I want.

As I helped the child bride fill out her customs form (no joke), I reminded myself that love comes in all shapes, sizes, ages and forms. I need to learn to appreciate them all… and count them blessed, as I will be one day. Whether married at 17, 37, or–like a friend of mine from church who found the love of her life and is excited to get married for the first time– at 49.

Now, as for the pleasantly plump European couple prancing around the beach right now in matching thongs? Well, that’s one love I refuse to appreciate.

~Ruth