Here is a chapter from my book that didn't make the final editing cut. I hope you like it.
You know what I love about you? I love the way your voice changes on the phone when you realize it’s me on the other end. Your whole demeanor changes from a very manly, businesslike, “Hello?” to a much softer, sexier and ever-so-slightly-more-attentive “Hey, babe. What’s up?” I’ve always loved the way you talk to me on the phone, like you’ve been waiting all day just to hear my voice. And for all these years, it hasn’t changed. You’re always just as anxious to talk to me as you were the first time we ever spoke on the phone.
You know what else? Every time you put a protective arm around me, you’re letting me know that no harm will ever come to me as long as you are with me. Every time you open a door for me or pull my chair out, you’re telling me that I’m the most important part of your life. You’re such a gentleman. I love that about you.
I love how you take care of me when we go camping, and I’ve loved every single vacation you’ve taken us on. I would never have seen so many beautiful places without you. And you make me feel that no matter where we are, every sun rises and sets on me. You’ve given me so many wonderful memories to treasure. Remember the Redwoods in that little tent you had? You made it seem like a mansion until we upgraded to the pop-up and then again to the travel trailer. And remember before we got a camper with a bathroom in it how I would ALWAYS have to pee in the middle of the night? You were so sweet whenever I’d be scared to walk out to the bathroom by myself, and you would always take me. You’d never get impatient with me--EVER--no matter how tired you were. I’d wake you up, and you’d just say, “OK, let’s go.” You’d get the flashlight and get my coat and walk me down the trail. So sweet--except for that one time you hid and scared the crap out of me. And how do you come up with such AMAZING meals a gazillion miles from nowhere? Surf and turf and steamed asparagus has never been a problem for you whether we’re cooking at home on the stove or in the woods over an open fire. I’ve never gone hungry, that’s for sure. Well, maybe there was one time through Washington state in the middle of the night. I was hungry AND tired, a dismal combination for you, but you just handled it like a champ in your usual form.
You know what else I love about you? I love how you sneak out of bed on Saturday mornings and go upstairs to watch your fishing shows. You bring me a steaming cup of chai and whisper in my ear, “Don’t get up,” because you want your uninterrupted, quality alone time. Like I want to hop out of bed at six o’clock on a Saturday morning.
I love when, all of a sudden, as if it’s just occurred to you, you say, “I sure love you, baby...” Out of the blue. I’ll just be standing there stirring something on the stove, and you’ll say it. Or I’ll be checking my e-mail or putting on my make-up, and you’ll just come out with it. It’s nice. I like it. I like that I don’t even have to look pretty for you to say it. You’ll just say it whenever the mood strikes. You’ll say it first thing in the morning when I have morning breath and morning hair and left-over-from-last-night morning make-up. While I’m on this subject, I might as well mention you don’t seem to mind the fact that my butt is jiggly or that I have stretch marks from here to Nigeria or that my tummy is far from flat. Your body remains hard and muscular and tan, and what do you have to say about mine? You say you really like that little “scoopy-scoop” that my tummy and hips and butt have created in the small of my back, and I know that you’re telling the truth because you have your hands on it all the time. Way to focus on the positive! God, I love you!
I love the fact that you’ll get out of bed to get me a drink of water in the middle of the night. Mostly. And if I absolutely can’t get you to do it, you’ll cuddle with me and try to convince me that I’m not really thirsty at all, and you’ll rub my face till I fall asleep. That’s nice too.
I love how you try to be grumpy, but you can’t. And when I giggle, you snap out of whatever got your shorts in a twist to begin with. I swear your worst days are better than most people’s best days. You’re just an even-keeled kinda guy. And when I’m grumpy, you’ll say, “Oh, baby, come on...” in your sweet, albeit somewhat patronizing voice. I can’t believe it works every stinkin’ time, but it does! How can that be? I know you’re going to say it, I tell myself not to let you appease me, and then you do it anyway. You’re magic. And I can’t resist you.
I love how you’ll stand in the kitchen and talk to me when it’s my night to cook. You always offer to pour me a glass of wine. Sometimes you’ll turn the music up and dance with me. And I love the fact that you and Geoff get up and clear the table and do the dishes when we’re done.
I love when you laugh at my jokes. You seem to do it often. I love that. I love the fact that you make me laugh every day. You’re a very funny guy. Did you know that? You have to know that. Wayne Newton. Hair that doesn’t belong. Bitter beer face. Bridges and birds. You are some entertainment, my man! Never a dull moment with you!
You know what else I love? I love the fact that everyone who meets you likes you instantly. When we leave a party, people do not say, “Yeah, she’s a nice girl, but he’s a real JERK! I wish she’d get a clue!” A good man will be attentive to his wife and obviously so. He will cherish her and love her and protect her, thereby earning respect from respectable people. The last person a woman should need protection from is her husband, for crying out loud! But we’ve both known women who are not cherished or protected from the men who should be doing exactly that. Those husbands are an embarrassment to such women. So, thank you for being a good man. You have earned the respect from all who know you, and I am always proud to be with you.
When challenges presented themselves, you navigated through it with such precision and foresight. We walked through our issues pretty darn bravely, I think. I know there were times when you were haunted by the possibility of making a wrong decision. But looking back, I see how you kept your head about you, and we both agreed on what was best for the three of us. I have no regrets, and I would hate it if you didn’t know that. So know that. I love what we have accomplished together, and I’m excited about our future. Raising Geoffrey with you has been the greatest joy of my life. Even he thinks we did a good job. And even when times were tough, I feel good about the fact that it was tough due to circumstances beyond our control. The difficulties were not because of stupidity or selfishness or neglect on either one of our parts. We’ve only made life better for each other--never harder. And when hard times came around to us, we were ready for it. So, with that being said, I love that you’ve shown such wisdom on our journey. I love that you have a calming and comforting effect on me. I love that you fill our home with laughter. I love that you spoil me. I love that you’re irresistible. I love that you provide and protect. I love that you’re a happy and contented man. I love that you breathe me in. I love that you love me. You completely soothe my soul. I love you. I trust you. I respect you. I enjoy you. I appreciate you. Even though we’ve been together all these years, I feel like I just married you a week ago. And I feel like we’ve always been together.
I am yours forever,