Monday, November 06, 2006

Richard's Wrinkles

Describing Richard can be difficult because he is not generally open about his feelings. About 10 years into our marriage, my husband quoted Henry David Thoroeau to me, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” My goal in our nearly 20 years of marriage has been to get my husband to share his song.

When Richard was three years old, his parents went through a bitter divorce. His mom won custody, but because daycare wasn’t readily available in the 1950s, he lived with an aunt and uncle and his mom would visit him on weekends. His father had married the “other woman” immediately after the divorce. Neither she nor his father really seemed to like him. As a result, Richard rarely saw his father who lived in another state, but did remember one summer spent with him in his teen years. He and “Bev” were in the kitchen while she was making a salad and drinking vodka. He said he must have gotten on her nerves because she got angry and began yelling and waving her knife at him (much like you’d wave your finger when you scold someone). He went outside to get away from her, but stayed the rest of the visit.

Richard said although he enjoyed being with his father, it wasn’t reciprocal. He felt he was just a reminder to his father of a bad decision he had made when he was very young. He said his father was the perfect example of how not to raise your children, so he always tried to treat our children like his dad did not treat him.

His dad died of cancer in 2001, right after Dale Earnhardt’s death and before September 11th, a trifecta of bad news. My husband believes that he would be dead now, too, had he not gotten married. When I asked why, he said he would have probably been shot by someone’s ex-husband somewhere in Mexico. Like most marriages, ours has been filled with trials and tribulations. We started out poor - slept on a twin mattress on the floor and had to finance our first table that only cost $200. We still struggle with our finances like most people do, but we feel rich in the time we spend together.

Richard would have been content to remain childless, but we have two daughters together. He describes our girls as the screaming, bratty money-pits that he’d give his life for. I asked how he felt when he heard, “It’s a girl.” He said the sex of the child didn’t matter; he was just happy she was normal and didn’t have a foot growing out of her skull. This is the same child who once crawled over to his brand-new, still-in-the-box-with-the-lid-off shoes and threw up in them. Both girls are crazy about their Daddy because when he takes them to the store, he always gets them something.

I put up with him. He puts up with me. There is a reason we call each other Freak Show.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There arent many marriages now adays that last very long. I am so happy that you and Richard are together and your children are very well mannered and smart. The both of you have raised great kids and Life can deal you alot of drama but you both seem to be very strong to handle anything. I am glad I have you both as a true good friend. Nowadays its hard to find good trusting people for friends. thanks again for your friendship and love....


5:00 PM  
Blogger Sonia said...

Sweet :) Your hubby sounds like a great guy. Heck, any guy who can quote Thoreau is pretty cool in my book. Isn't it amazing how rare a long marriage is these days? I'm glad you've beat the odds.

7:47 AM  
Blogger sandegaye said...

I loved your 'wrinkle' series.. you're an excellent writer, & a lucky woman to have these people in your life.

8:04 AM  

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