I make fun of him. As a matter of fact, I make so much fun of him, I wouldn’t be a writer without him as fodder. I make fun of his musical hobby, his quaint turn of phrase (he refers to a bunion as a “thumpus”), and his bald head.
But you know what? He is a prince. He is the man who shared equally in the raising of two beautiful girls. The oldest is naming her unborn son after her father. The youngest gauges just about everything she does in terms of whether or not her father would approve.
This is the man whose first love letter informed me that he had “intense positive regard” for me. The man who instead of dying of a stroke or worse—surviving as an impaired and feeble man—surprised everyone by triumphing and coming out the other side as an even smarter and funnier individual. His joy in his “second chance” at life is palpable.
Oh, and speaking of big words, his most entertaining attribute can be tied directly to his being a stroke survivor: he does get linguistically twisted still, and what comes out is hilarious (see “thumpus,” above. He is also a moniker shifter: Lisa becomes Lola, Dan becomes Dave, and Lydia, Leticia.) But he has always called me by my given name. Or “hey, you.”
He proved just how steadfast he is during my cancer diagnosis and treatment. Sidebar: By the way, this will be the last column about this. I certainly want to save any further cancer discussions for all the lunches I plan to have with other old ladies. You know. The ones where all of them meet to complain about their latest symptoms. This is one of the major activities of aging Boomers! It’s a clique. If you don’t at least have arthritis, you are just not popular.
I was shocked with a diagnosis, continued being shaky until the surgery was over and the pathology results came back thrillingly positive, and remained iffy during my recovery. I leaned heavily on my darling husband, who responded by waiting on me like a servant, sitting beside me when the golf links beckoned, carrying trays and making meals, cleaning litter boxes and making detailed spreadsheets to keep track of the myriad medicines and when in heck to take them. All of this with a smile on his face.
One of my daughter’s friends once asked her mother to define “love.” She sat her four girls in a row and very seriously said “Can you picture yourself wiping his bottom? Feeding him pureed food? Seeing his dentures in a cup on the bedside table? And vice-versa? Because if you can’t, don’t marry him. Believe me girls, it always comes to this in a happy, long marriage.”
So here is to the most wonderful man in the entire world. Charlie, get out the flushable wipes. I am ready.