We both sang each other songs at our wedding during the reception. Mine was called, “Thank You for Loving Me.”
They say this day goes by in a haze
go from one thing and then to the next.
And I’m kind of afraid
if I’m too overwhelmed
think of all the good things I might miss.
So I can’t let it go without letting you go
’cause I wouldn’t want any regrets
We’ve been up, we’ve been down
oh but everyday, I always knew you were trying your best…
I want to thank you for loving me,
I need to thank Him for you.
I want to thank you for loving me,
so very well…you loved me well.
They tell me the years will go by so fast
and I’ll hardly know where time has gone,
and maybe this day will get lost in the race
But I promise I’ll never forget.
Cause I know that we’ll stay
through the fire and the rain
when it’s cold and our faith’s growing thin,
and I hope that we find, at the end of the road
that we’re right back here where we began…
Now this is all true- and it’s still true- you loved me well- so very well Daniel. And I’ve been thinking of what that looks like- not in the abstract, but all of the “small” things that you did for me. And together they are concentrated- like a poem.
You’d tear the meat off of the rotisserie chicken because I hate touching that- especially after it’s been in the cold fridge a day later and some of the grease or fat had gelatinized. You’d throw out my dirty tissues, even if they were wet. You hated how I shoved them under my pillow or up my shirt sleeve like an old lady. If I was already in bed but wanted to wear my retainer- yup- we both still wore one to sleep, you’d go rinse it for me. In the winter you’d shovel. Last year as soon as you came back from the tour, you went out to shovel our parking spot and car in the dark. I liked to cook but you basically did all of the unpleasant tasks- including all of the chopping and all of the dishes. You came to think of meals only by how difficult the dishes would be to do. I’d be excited about fondue and you’d think- “The cheese is going to get all stuck on- that is not going to be an easy pot to clean.” I loved purging our apartments, but I’d wind up with bags of junk and not know what to do with them. I’d be embarrassed to take them in to a thrift store so I’d send you. Last year I waited in the car anxiously. When you came back you said one lady showed another a few of the items and they looked unhappy but took it. You’d break down all of our boxes for recycling- the Fresh Direct ones when we lived in the city and the diaper ones here. After I cleaned out the fridge, you’d wash all of the gross containers that had old food in them. When I was tense, you’d massage my neck, base of my head and shoulders. I always told you it was better than any massage I’d ever paid for – and it was. You helped my carpal tunnel and slipped disc to feel so much better by releasing that tension. You’d massage my feet too- though a bit more begrudgingly- and always wash your hands right afterwards. You always did our laundry in the city before we had a machine. You’d carry two huge bags down the street in Park Slope to 5th Avenue. We called the white-haired Eastern European guy who worked there the laundry nazi because he was always telling people exactly how to do their laundry. One false move in there and you were in trouble. But somehow you managed to get on his good side. One time you told me when you got back that he’d suggested you throw your laundry bag in the wash too. You folded our laundry a lot too. I used to have a very slow way of rolling up socks, but you laughed watching me do that and showed me your way. You’d go out on cold mornings for bagels for Audrey and I. You’d go out on dark nights for ice cream or chocolate or whatever I was craving. You’d tell me I looked especially pretty in the morning. You let me change my mind about my taste in furnishings and sell the furniture I’d bought the year before even though we lost money on it. You went extra early to the movie theater with me so I could get the “perfect” seat. You got up from restaurant tables with me and walked out if I decided this place wasn’t for me- I didn’t like the menu or it didn’t seem clean enough- I was very, very picky. You went food shopping for me, calling me every few minutes to make sure you were getting the brand or kind I wanted: “OK, so…question: Did you waaant wheat flour or white wheat flour because I see two.” I’d answer quickly. “OK…cool.” Two minutes later the phone would ring again. “Yes?” I’d answer. When you got home you’d say, “How’d I do?” And if there was one thing missing or wrong, you’d say “I failed.” You humored me as I tried to create all of these traditions for us and for our family- doing puzzles in the winter, the gratitude basket we kept, all my other attempts at domesticity. You brought me Real Simple and free chocolates from work. You carried my bags and my diaper bag and purse. You got up and changed Audrey’s morning diaper and let me sleep in while you played with her. You made me countless cups of tea when I was sick. You brought me water and made sure I drank it because I was always forgetting and getting dehydrated or headaches. You plugged and unplugged my computer for me while I lay in bed doing my freelance work and I was too lazy to get up. You cleaned up the toothpaste when I squeezed it from the middle and didn’t close it and it got all hard and dry. You always made me a little stand for my chopsticks out of the wrapper when we went out to eat. You ate whatever leftovers I gave you- I remember watching you eat spaghettie with gim- and thinking how gross it was.
You spelled out “Audrey beptz cho loves mom” with the foam alphabet letters of Audrey’s play mat. You programmed a video of Audrey when she was a newborn and “I love mommy” onto the screen of my cell phone. You watched all of my family vacation videos and my high school graduation speech with me when we first met. You let me read my journals to you even though they were verbose and more than you really wanted to hear about. You came with me to many doctor’s appointments- for a lump biopsy once in my right breast while we were still dating and for an MRI when I tore my hip joint. The first time I’d gone for the MRI myself and gotten so claustrophobic I had to come out in the middle. This time, the technician put a little mirror above my head so that as I went in the tube, I could still see you smiling at me. You cooked me the best macaroni and cheese with chicken the night after I miscarried. It tasted so good. A lot of dad-to-be’s don’t go to every Dr.’s appointment. I think you missed maybe one- and that was because of your job. You were always there calming me down because my blood pressure was always a bit too high. I thought I had restless leg syndrome so at night when we lay in bed and my legs felt restless- you’d grab them with your hands as I lay there and move them really fast like I was riding a bike but really, really fast to try to ease my pain, but also because I think you thought it was funny…and it was.
Right before you left, the day you left- you swept our balcony because they’d been doing some work out there and it was dusty. You wiped down the windows- smiling through them at Audrey while she watched. Then you used a broom- that’s still where you left it- to sweep the balcony. “I’m glad I got to do that for you before I left,” you said.
I will miss all of this…the sweetness and marination that many years and experiences bring to a relationship. You were always asking me, “Was that helpful? Did I help?” Yes, Dan- you helped so very much. And you loved me well- so very well.