Saturday, February 15, 2014
Love and War
Suffice it to say, if you know me you may be aware of my default “angst” setting regarding all things romantic, cuddly and potentially pink. Valentine’s Day therefore is right up there in my book with having my teeth scaled or getting a mammogram (Hey –I’m over 40. Humiliation happens) Yup, Tam’s a hater from way back. While other girls were getting silly little rosebuds with ribbons and boxes of kitschy conversation hearts from “secret admirers” (harrumph! They were probably sending them to themselves) I was sitting in the back row in the trumpet section blowing spit out of my valves and making duck calls with my mouthpiece. All I wanted out of High school in those days was me, and that’s all I got.
Fast forward to single life and college, my first part time job as a cashier at U-Haul and I receive a pretty little sequined heart box and a bouquet for Valentine’s Day from a wonderful auburn haired, blue eyed Nordic man. (My dad. At the time I was his only girl.) Enter reality as my boss snorts his derision and says “If you weren’t so damn mean you could get a real guy to send you flowers.” Yeah. That happened.
While I never blossomed into a fairy tale princess, I am now permanently married with two almost adult male spawn (depends on the day. They vacillate between 4 and 40) My husband is a man’s man. He replaces the wax ring on the toilet without instructions. He can field dress a javelina (it’s a wild pig that eats cactus. Booyah!) He eats fresh jalapenos for fun. The scent from his work clothes could be bottled and sold as a weapon of mass destruction. Frilly little cupid in his ruffled diaper doesn’t stand a chance in this house. And while sometimes I wax a little girly and contemplate sugary moments of waltzing, and orchids and the click of real silver against bone china I’m ok with the trade-off of protection over pursuit.
Truth is my much maligned He-Man would fight a bear for me and the boys and we’d get dinner and a show out of the event. Romance may be wonderful, but real love in all its grit and imperfection is the better option. Real love stays up all night in the emergency room with a vomiting child. Real love holds your hand praying and telling you you’re good when you’re shaking so hard the entire hospital gurney is rattling and you cannot breathe, and you know you are going to die in that moment. (True story. Tam is allergic to morphine. Whodathunkit?) Real love untangles a strangling pet at three in the morning in the mud. Real love caresses the hair on your daddy’s head after he passes away, then stands at your side and sings “Open the Eyes of my Heart” because real love knows you need peace and you want to be strong in the moment for the family that is shattered. Real love knows I’m a better warrior than a romantic, and that’s ok.
He’s not perfect. He got me a stove once for Valentine’s Day. He’s still on the list for that. But life is so hard sometimes and when I find myself at that place of “done” my forever husband is there to pick up the pieces and get me battle ready again. We’re in this together for the duration, and that’s all I ever really wanted. Takes a special man to deal daily with a war horse. He is that man.