Friday, August 6, 2021

Holding on for Dear Life

44 years ago today, she and I exchanged I do's. To her everlasting credit she has. My story has a very different trajectory.

My first recollection of what has become the central theme of our marriage occurred on our honeymoon. I am certain there were earlier episodes, during our courtship, but these incidents were obscured in the fog of romance.

We sat on the freeway somewhere in California, our rental car disabled by a flat tire. As difficult as it may be for some of you to perceive, the concept of cell phones was not even incubating in 1977. Therefore, the wait for triple A was of uncertain breadth. Until then, one's own capacity had to suffice.

 "I have no idea how to change a tire", I announced to my already not so blushing bride. There was no shame in my comment, just a declaration of limitation. Trying to put this end of that foreign piece of equipment into the other, raise the car into the air, compel the nuts, or whatever they were called, off their perch, well I had a better chance of inventing the cell phone.

It should have been a warning, a shot across the bow. Retreat before it is too late.

Her curse is that she is as capable as I am not. She can perform any task put to her. Her mind works in logical sequence. Where I find gibberish in instructions, she can improve the manual, refine it so that even a simpleton could put A into B. Almost any simpleton.

When we first were wed, we resided in a small apartment. There, I could paper over some of my most glaring deficiencies. But not all of them.

I cannot cook. I cannot clean. I cannot change a lightbulb. These are not hyperboles. I mean I dare not turn on a stove without first alerting the fire department and confirming that no small children will be harmed in the making of this movie. Even in college, when my roommate and I were off the meal plan, he decided that, for his own welfare, he would do both the cooking and the cleaning of the dishes. And many a potato went to an early grave as my wife extracted the light bulb shards, lefty loosey, righty tidy proving too intricate a concept for my mind to grasp.

The sheer weight of my incompetence has proven very hard for some friends to bear. This, they have notified me, is an act borne not out of inability but inattention or worse, intent. But I am not that clever, not by half or even a quarter. What you see is, unfortunately, what you don't get. Or maybe what you do. That is not clear as to grammatical connotation.

Through it all, my beleaguered wife has persevered. Like Horton Hatches an Egg, she has been faithful 100 percent. Through the storm of my ineptitude, through the head shaking incapacity, through the seconds, the minutes, the endless monotony of being mother and father to virtually every issue that has erupted over 16,071 days and nights, through the bad, the worse and the ugly, she has been as solid as I have been full of holes.

This morning we were charged with the care of our not quite 3 year granddaughter, as she and we await the arrival of her 3 day old brother, as he escorts his mom and dad home from the hospital. Our granddaughter was working diligently on one of those square peg, round hole puzzles that looked to me as hard to decipher as a Rubik's cube. My wife gently walked our ward through the process until she had turned straw into gold. Meanwhile, I wondered how I had ever managed to graduate from pre-school.

My wife could have taken a different path all those years ago. Could have partnered with someone other than a person whose picture stands astride the word inept in Webster's. Could have not had her picture next to the tale of Sisyphus. Could have had two children instead of an unintended third.

To anyone who asks, I merely inform them that she gave up many years past. That she accepted her lot in life with a grace and dignity of which I am not deserving. That she has carried me around on her shoulders, up and down every mountain that we have climbed together. Correction, that she climbed, while I held on for dear life.

Dear life.



Anonymous said...

I don’t know about changing a lightbulb or boiling an egg, but you’re a damn good writer!
Nobody gets to have everything….
Mazel Tov on your new grandchild!!
Enjoy every minute🤗


Fran said...

I was laughing as I read this, but that last line cholded me up. Congratulations on 44 years and the new grandchild! You are both fabulous. i love you.

Anonymous said...

You’re in abilities are all part of your charm and the reason G-d arranged for your perfect bride to be life’s tour leader. Happy Anniversary!!! Mazel Tov on the arrival of your grandson. G-d willing, he will take of the more adept members of his family.


Anonymous said...

For the record, auto correct screwed up inabilities.


Limor said...

Super women-super couple.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work


Anonymous said...

Inept or not, your life together has been a success in all ways


David B said...

with all your ineptitudes, in spite of you, you and Jo have managed to have two wonderful kids , and two wonderful grandchildren.
congratulations of 44 years and the new addition to your family.

jsb and dab

Anonymous said...

Well you’re a good golfer. What more could you possibly want.


NJL said...

Congratulations on a new grandchild......nothing could be better!

Unknown said...

A thoughtfull, entertaining and wonderful commentary, as always! Happy 44th Anniversary and Mazel Tov on the birth of your grandson. All the best to you and your family!

Natalie said...

She is small but mighty and that makes her larger than life itself. Happy Anniversary and Happy New Grandchild and really, just happy everything to you all.

Anonymous said...

Mazel Tov to you and your family on a new grandchild! And Happy Anniversary too!
Keep holding on for dear life because it works for you! You have a wonderful family!--RE

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tribute despite any ineptitude