Wednesday, December 10, 2008
That Time of Year
Christmas is just a matter of a couple of weeks away now. Most people think of snow and presents and religious figures. I think of John.
Christmas Eve will be our 8-year Anniversary. I cannot recall, other than the night we were actually married, in 2000, a single time when we have celebrated this occasion. We are always too busy playing Santa for Evan, who was born nine months after we married. Our acknowledgment of this day is always a quick kiss and a "Happy Anniversary". Christmas for a child is a magical time, even more so for the parents who love them so dearly, and we have always been too wrapped up in that to take away from it by celebrating anything else. But it does not mean that I do not think about it, about how special it is.
The other night, a colleague of mine asked me about John. They know of his struggles to find work but that is all. She asked me if I was truly in love with him. This got the gears in my head turning. I don't have to think about the answer to that. I am as in love with this man now as I was the day I married him. But for her to ask that question now, of all of the times out of the year, when my mind is raw with thoughts of John...
I did not know everything about my John when we married. I only knew that I loved him and wanted to be with him after only three months together. I have always considered us an exception to some rule about marriage: the ones who married quickly. There was a time where I wondered if we married too quickly. I have always stopped myself with the reminder that no amount of dating could teach you everything about a person. There are just some things you have to learn the hard way, by living day in and day out at someone's side. This has been the case with us.
Does John have his flaws? Absolutely, as do I. But John has some amazing qualities that go unmentioned, or not mentioned enough. One of my imperfections as a wife is that I get so caught up with my work, responsibilities, being a Mom, and my education and goals that I fail to remind him enough of what he means to me. What are some of those qualities? He can have days where he is completely selfless. He has the biggest heart of anyone I know. He is a great father to our son. He's smart and capable, and tough as nails. He is always there for me.
Did you know that each and everyday I return home from work, and my feet feel like they are breaking, he will sit and massage my feet until I fall asleep. If I am thirsty, I say so and he brings me something to drink without my even asking. If I am cold, I say the word and I am wrapped in a blanket. Right now, if I wanted to, I could go nudge him from his sleep and tell him I can't sleep, and he would stay awake for as long as it took, playing with my hair until I dozed off. Nowadays, this is worth more than diamonds and flowers and romantic getaways. He takes care of me more than even I realize.
Yes, I am in love with John. He and Evan make up my whole world. I don't need my career or my education, or anything else, in sight of losing either of them. I would give up everything for them, for him. The beauty of our life together is that I don't have to. He is my partner, so that my success is really our success.
I am a proud, headstrong person. I like to think I am tough and independent, but the truth is that I am not. I honestly do not think I could do any of what I do without John. It is not widely known, but John is the reason I have my career today, the reason I am able to approach my whole dream of becoming a doctor. Several years ago, he was in school and I was not. He was having some trouble, and asked me to go with him to meet the Dean of Academic Affairs. I went along, only to find out that he was meeting with her to talk to her about getting me back in college after surrendering my higher education almost a decade earlier when my mother died. I had always wanted to, and didn't think I could. John took me around, from the Dean's office, to the admissions office, and more. I left that day enrolled in courses that started 2 weeks from that date. After his help in making that first step, I realized that my dream of being a physician never really left me. I have been at it ever since. And when I was recognized at commencement, when getting my degree in respiratory therapy, it was his voice I heard cheering for me the loudest. When I was scared to death of my credentialing exams, he waited for me outside of the testing center, in the car, in 100 degree heat, until I was finished and had the piece of paper in my hand saying I had passed each and every exam. I honestly could not imagine finishing pre-med or Med School without seeing his face.
I am so blessed to get to spend my time here on Earth with a man who loves me. I get to laugh and cry and cheer with him over life's moments each and every day. I get to see him change, to evolve as a person. With each passing Christmas season, though we do not celebrate it, I can bask in the knowledge that we are closer as a couple, that we have managed another year together in a time when marriage is disposable. That is enough for me.