Letter to My Heart: Rusting Love

BlogHer Original Post

My dear cardiofriend,

What to say? I owe you a debt of gratitude for fluttering around the right man and later giving me the strength to make the decision to commit to him. And motherhood? I had no idea I had so much love in me.

That said, we need to talk.

What is it with subtlety and nuance lately? Where did head-over-heels go? Whither crazy passion? Was it the years, the birth control pills, the antidepressants, the extra pounds, the fact that we've exhausted our trove of stories to tell one another? See, sometimes I miss the fun we had before we our son arrived on the scene. Nights out! Spontaneity (or our sad version of it, scheduling it on the calendar). Taking advantage of Mr. M-B's desire to impress me by making him try new food.

I miss those days before our work and parenting became 7-day-a-week affairs.

Well, usually I miss them.

To be completely honest, there's something I very much enjoy about this more recent kind of love, the sharing of milestones that mark both success and age: a few days of labor and then (finally!) childbirth, naming Mr. M-B's first gray hairs after the people who caused them, our then-two-year-old son's first curse words. And today.

Today was special. I want to thank you for your fortitude.

It was a relatively small thing, Mr. M-B's shoulder surgery, the removal of a bone spur and, we hope, a good deal of pain. But how much I enjoyed sitting next to him in the pre-op suite with its ugly pastel curtains and its roving teams of nurses, doctors, and anesthesiologists. Thank you for opening up--years ago--to his habit of playing with "the help," be they waiters or police officers or nurses. Thank you for letting me be open to listening and watching as he baits other people and then gets them to open up. How many stories we heard today pre-op--at a time when the attention should have been focused on Mr. M-B--from the talented staff of the outpatient surgery center! The terrific nurse who told us about how both he and his husband were "AIDS widows" when they met. The lanky anesthesiologist who liked us much better when Mr. M-B clarified that when he said he was a proud member of the cult of Rush, he meant the band, not the gasbag. The nurse who told us about the woman who, upon giving birth to her ninth child--and being told he was a boy--said "Shit! Not again!" because she already had eight sons. These are not stories I would have heard had I been the one trapped in the hospital bed, tethered to monitors. Unlike Mr. M-B, I'm still learning to prod people without overdoing the snark, the protective mechanism of a heart that isn't quite sure it's safe.

Before I met Mr. M-B, I didn't hear these stories because I didn't know how to crack people's shells. But now, thanks to your lead, I not only earned the privilege of spending (I hope) the rest of my life with him, but of learning about so many other people's quirks and secrets and love. Thank you for teaming up with Mr. M-B to make me a better "people person."

I look forward to the quiet love of the next week as I help Mr. M-B by adjusting his sling, changing his ice packs, checking his incisions for infections, driving him around town, and making sure he's not hitting the Vicodin too hard. It's not the hold-hands-walking-around-the-house and make-love-in-every-room brand of romance and passion I originally signed up for, but it is still something I wouldn't give up for the world. Thank you, heart, for opening up to these possibilities.

Because in letting me love Mr. M-B in myriad ways, you have made me understand that love oxidates, and that's OK. Like copper it begins shiny, and then just as it seems to be getting dull, it blossoms all over a lovely green and becomes, at least on the surface, something entirely new.

Best,

Leslie

Leslie Madsen-Brooks develops learning experiences for K-12, university, and museum clients. She blogs at The Clutter Museum, Museum Blogging, and The Multicultural Toybox.

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