Saturday, January 1, 2011
The smartest thing I ever did
I'm going to let you in on the biggest secret I have:
I didn’t realize it at the time, but the smartest decision I have ever made in my entire life was to marry Sparky.
I recall very clearly on our wedding day, as soon as the JP said "I now pronounce you man and wife," my new mother-in-law said, "I give it a month."
To be honest, I secretly agreed with her. I was terrified of commitment. Before I met Sparky, when a relationship turned serious, my immediate reaction was to leave town within 48 hours. I was positive that once he really got to know me, he'd come to his senses and run for the hills.
Here it is. I am not a nice person. Ask anyone who knows me. I am many things, a published author, a good cook, an uber-organizer, a fair and impartial manager, smart, funny, accomplished. But not one person would describe me as nice.
I am a solitary and selfish person. I am blunt and sarcastic. I don't make friends easily, nor do I keep them. Sparky, on the other hand is still friends with people he went to grammar school with.
He's the nice one. In 26 years, I have not met one person who did not like Sparky. Co-workers respect him, his players admire him, women love him and men just plain like him.
He's that guy.
He's the guy who can make a 79 year old woman blush in the grocery store after he gets that item off the top shelf and calls her sweetheart.
He's the guy who can't go into a store or restaurant without hearing “Hey Coach.” He remembers every player from every team he’s ever coached in 15 years. He also knows where they are now and how they’re doing. Other coaches get handshakes, he gets hugs.
He’s that guy.
True Story: We both grew up in Connecticut. On our honeymoon, in Key West (where neither of us had ever been before), as we’re riding up in the elevator to our room, the bellhop turns to Sparky and says, “Are you from Connecticut?”
He's that guy.
And in 26 years he has been my partner in crime – tiptoeing with me through knee-high snow to stalk the paper boy at 2:00 am when I was convinced he was a burglar.
He has always encouraged me to reach for my dreams and was as excited as I was each time my writing was published – even though he rarely reads anything longer than a magazine article.
He’s been my harshest critic – at times forcing me to face painful but necessary truths about myself and my actions. And he’s been the one holding my hand in times of incredible joy and profound loss.
He allows me the freedom to fly while his strength keeps me firmly anchored to the ground.
He is my hero. He is a model of what it means to be a decent and honorable man.
He's the love of my life and I'm a better person than I might have been because of him. Yep, marrying him was the smartest thing I ever did.
I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions but this year, I have one.
This year I want to become Sparky’s hero.
That's my wish for 2011.