So, you ask, where could I possibly be taking this "G" rated post when I start with a title like that?
My husband offered to take me out for lunch today. I went almost immediately into a fit of frustration.
I have SO much to do at home, on the computer. I have a manuscript to prepare for Smashwords; I have a blog post to write and over one hundred to read; I have comments to respond to and greeting cards to design. The list goes on and on and on. And I began to tell him so.
What kind of time would it take? What amount of effort? We rely on public transit so we would surely be gone two or three hours. That's a huge chunk of time! I could do "oh so much" in that amount of time.
And, I knew, he would not utter a sound in protest. He loves me and he respects me. He does value my time and he was not asking to take my time away. He wasn't "dissing" my efforts. He was asking if he could do something for me; something that he knew I would enjoy.
I value my husband and his time, hopefully as much as he does mine. I appreciate his attention to me and his desire to please me. I pulled out an imaginary scale and set my choices upon it. His desire to please against my reasons to refuse. My reasons to refuse tipped the scale as for numbers, but, honoring his love and respect was by far the weightier matter.
We went to the Golden Corral, a buffet to beat all buffets. He could eat what he enjoyed and I could eat my favorites. However, when we visit the buffet he is challenged. It is interesting to watch the "one handed man" balance a plate while filling it with food. Onlookers are either perturbed by the inconvenience of waiting for him or discomforted by his disabilities.
Did I say "interesting" to watch? For me it can be as nerve wracking as watching a man juggle fire within inches of my nose. Disaster was imminent. I stopped what I was doing to help build him a taco - a feat requiring three hands. Then I left him again - to his own devices - out of respect.
My husband is not an invalid or a child but I am his helpmeet. Never are the duties of my role more apparent than at a buffet service table. My job is to respect and honor his independence while simultaneously being willing, able and present to assist.
When we were both back at our table, we ate in silence for the first course. I'm sure that the onlookers, if any, could not sense anything special in us. There were lots of couples eating quietly, each caught in their own little world - oblivious to all about them - including each other.
My husband made a second trip to the buffet as did I. When we returned to our table, some of the people seated in our area began to observe his disabilities made manifest. He struggled to sit in the booth - his paralyzed foot refusing to avoid the table leg. Try and try again - the impotent leg versus the immoveable object - until others in the area grew uncomfortable with the effort. Finally, he was seated and enjoying his meal once again. The mood in the room was restored.
The opportunity was ripe.
It was time to teach, by example, this similarly aging and captive audience seated all about us.
I told my husband I was going to fetch some strawberries. Before I could finish asking him, he smiled broadly and declared, "Yes! I want some too." Quickly followed by, "If that's okay? If it's not too much trouble."
I filled a cold salad bowl with about 10 medium to large sized strawberries. On my way back to the table I planned to stop for a small bowl of whipped cream. Nuuuummmmy!
When I got to the dessert tables, I discovered the hot fudge. A scathingly brilliant idea was born! I filled a small bowl with hot fudge and another small bowl with whipped cream.
When I got back to the table I placed all the bowls in front of me and out of his reach. Then I went back and got a clean plate.
I then sliced the strawberry in half, leaving one half on the plate. With the knife I painted the strawberry with hot fudge. With a spoon I heaped on the whipped cream. Then I reached across the table, with all the smooth sultriness I could muster, and placed it on his tongue. I then prepared one for myself while he grinned from ear to ear - in silence. We repeated this exercise until all the strawberries were gone.
Long before I prepared the last one, the room had become still and silent around us. The frenzy of consumption had slowed to a hum.
What were they thinking? I chuckled to myself as I considered the possibilities.