Forty Seven Octobers

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My husband, Mike, once took one of those personality tests at work. When the results came back the psychologist announced that he was a quite an interesting man. He noted that Mike was highly principled and that he would maintain his ethics even in the face of unbearable peer pressure. Interestingly his profile also showed that he was a man of few needs who actually enjoyed working alone. The psychologist joked that if the company gave Mike a cardboard box with a lightbulb in which to do his work, he would be perfectly satisfied. In other words, Mike is the strong silent type. He’s John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Gregory Peck all rolled up into one person. He is who he is and he doesn’t worry a bit about what others may think of him. He’s a great foil to my uptight, worried, sometimes easily swayed tendencies. Together we have somehow managed to forge a partnership of forty seven years that works beautifully. I suspect that if I were allowed to enter a time machine and relive all of them I would eagerly repeat our life all over again.  

My daughters will tell you that Mike has a pleasant low key kind of personality. He doesn’t say much but when he finally does his words are profound. He sits at the edge of a crowd observing and listening. Of late he doesn’t hear quite as much because his hearing is shot but he notices enough to quietly be the voice of wisdom in an emergency. He eschews attention and does very little for himself. He’ll eagerly spend a hundred fifty dollars for a Star Wars Lego set for our grandson but scrimp on a new pair of shoes for himself. 

Mike is quintessentially kind. He loves people just as they are. He was so good to my mother that I sometimes joke that he has already earned a place in heaven just for ignoring the vicious taunts that she hurled at him when she was in a hyper manic stage. She lived in our home for over a year and not every day was pleasant but he somehow only recalls the really good times that we enjoyed with her. He often mentions how much he misses her in a choked up kind of voice. Few men would have been able to endure the moments when she was at her worst but Mike understood that the wild eyed imitation of my mother who confronted him over and over again was not who she really was. He loves deeply and those who enjoy his favor don’t have to conform to any set of standards to feel the warmth of his feelings.

Part of Mike’s personality does include a hard headed independent streak. I learned long ago that nagging him was a lost cause. He has his own ideas about how to live life and I suppose that if were truly honest I would have to admit that I like his style. He’s definitely his parents’ son. Both his mother and father always marched to their own drum beats all the while being loving and compassionate and nonjudgmental to the extreme. Over the years some of my friends often envied the wonderful in-laws that I had. They took me and my brothers and my mother into their hearts without hesitation and have stood by us year after year. It’s little wonder that Mike turned out to be such a fine man. He had role models of the best kind.

On Sunday Mike and I will once again celebrate another year of wedded bliss. Somehow I can’t even imagine where the years have gone. Forty seven Octobers sounds like such a great number and yet I find myself baffled at how it is possible that we have accumulated so many memories. Inside I still feel like the skinny little girl who was so enamored of the handsome boy who stood waiting for me at the altar. I wonder how we managed to wade through the thick and thin of our lives. I suspect that much of our success has to do with Mike and his wonderful personality. He has been the rock when I was feeling adrift. He has provided the advice that I most needed to hear. He has loved unconditionally and served me and our daughters generously. He is a mix of old fashioned gentlemanly traits and modern day coolness. He has been my cheerleader, my confidante, and my best friend. We’ve laughed and cried together. We’ve held our baby girls in our arms and watched them grown into beautiful women. We’ve played with our grandchildren and felt such pride in their accomplishments. We’ve had difficult challenges and great fun. The day that I met him was the best day of my life. I have been so blessed. 

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