Lintilla and I have always personalized our marriage – meaning we treat it as if it were a person. And, in a way, it is. That is, our marriage is MUCH stronger, more resilient, and interesting than just the sum of us. It’s hard to explain, but I believe that other long-marrieds understand what I’m talking about.
We’ve watched it grow – we celebrated when it was old enough to be in a big-boy bed, when it reached kindergarten age, when it was old enough to ride most of the rides at Disney World, when it could drive, when it reached the age that it could serve its country.
Well, as of today, our marriage is old enough to have a drink in all 50 states. 21 years. Party on, dude! (Or babe – our marriage is really gender-neutral, especially considering how gender-bending the two of us are).
Our anniversaries are usually quite low-key in between the “5” years. So, we may not even go out to eat tonight (if we don’t I’m making those empanadas I told you about). I’ll run out and get Lintilla a little something later today. It’s not that I forgot our anniversary, it’s that we’ve really been too busy to shop for each other.
I do love that woman so. She has been under the gun lately – uterine cancer, full hysterectomy, ineligible for hormone therapy – meaning those wonderful menopause symptoms are twice as bad, kidney cancer (and a doctor who seems in no hurry to take the tumor out, causing Lintilla much distress), and the latest thing – her joints have just about stopped working. The doc is going to check her for rheumatoid arthritis.
Through it all, she’s kept her marvelous sense of humor and determination. She is my inspiration.
Just a quick Lintilla story, to highlight one of the myriad things I love about her.
The hospice she works for recently had a “trouble” patient. He would not cooperate, he was grouchy all the time, and just downright mean. Somehow, Lintilla ended up (after several others had tried) with him as a patient. And at first, he was awful to her as well. He was an older man, suffering from partial dementia, and wasn’t all “there”.
She asked the family about him; she wanted to know what he had done when he was younger. Through their conversations, she discovered that the man had been a marine for most of his life. So, the next time she cared for him, Lintilla changed her tone. She barked orders at him (in a firm, but nice way) as if she were his commanding officer.
The change in the man was stunning. He cooperated fully, and started calling Lintilla “sir”. (Lintilla also called him “sir” – she isn’t very familiar with military protocol). From then on, he looked forward to Lintilla’s visits. He mixed up in his mind who he was talking to – a rough officer or a caring female. He would answer to the orders “Yes, sir! Right away, sir! Love you, sir!”
It’s such a sweet story, and only one of so many she can tell.
I count it the greatest of blessings that a bum like me could snag such a beautiful prize. Happy anniversary, Lintilla! Have a drink!