Monday, August 29, 2011

Jim Croce Would Have Written This Better In a Song

I looked at him quizzically as he dashed in, grabbed his jacket and bounded back outside. "Where are you going?" I called after him. "I'm going to go take a walk with your Mom!" he shouted back. Fear and delight mixed in my stomach, I watched as he jogged down the beach with a huge smile on his face and caught up with my mother who was walking in the other direction.

I'd only met him a few months before, a blind date set up by a mutual friend that neither of us thought would go anywhere. The night we met, it took about 3 minutes for me to be completely enchanted by him. He had a wonderful, open smile, an infectious laugh and an incredibly curious mind. We leaned our heads together in conversation, drank bourbons and scotches, talked until late in the night. As he opened the car door for me, I remember thinking "hmmm, this guy may be a keeper."

Ten years later, and many miles between, I look back on that girl and think "oh sister, you had no idea what an amazing gift you were getting."

When I play back those ten years, there are many points that stand out in my mind. I remember taking him to visit Dad and Hunter's grave and the gentle way he pulled aside the chairs from the marble floor slab bearing their names.  I remember listening to him give the Father's Day talk at our Unitarian church about what fatherhood meant to him, so articulately and with such depth that he brought tears to the eyes of the minister herself. I remember, so clearly, the strong hug and calm reassurances that came when my sisters called to say Mom had lost movement in half of her body, that they didn't know what was wrong but that something, most definitely, was awry. "We'll get through this, honey, go be with your mom and the girls. Everything will be ok. We'll make it work." as he sent me off for weeks at a time to be with my family, never complaining about the extra burden of taking on the kids or re-arranging his life to accommodate my absence.

And I remember, most vividly, making that call, crouched in a quiet room at work, to tell him that the test was positive. "What test?" he said for just a second, then hearing my voice crack, realizing what I was talking about. We had both been assured that it was nothing, certainly just a benign mass, leaving neither of us to believe the news when it all came rushing home.

Standing on the other side of the glass watching him run down that beach, I could never have forseen the amount of love, patience and friendship that that man would show me over these ten years. I would never have imagined the hills and valleys we have come through, nor the mountain we are climbing now. The arguments we've had and the difficulties we've faced as a couple seem minor now in contrast to what we've been able to move through together. Truly, times like these give you a great perspective on the measure of a man. 

I'm not foolish enough gamble on predictions of the future, but I know that no matter what happens, I will never be able to repay this good, solid, sweet man for his kindness and love during this time...never in a million years.

Nothing I write here can really do it all justice. So, I will just say I love you, Nick. And thank you.

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