Lyrical Laughs

Saturday, February 13, 2016

What really says love? You’d be surprised

Sunday is Valentine’s Day, that day when you are expected to clearly demonstrate how much you love someone. I wonder. Does that day still matter when you’re with the same person for a hundred years? Fine, 35 years then.

Spouse and I have been together for 35 Valentine’s Days. Some have been wonderfully romantic (flowers, gifts, a nice dinner) and some have been…. less so (like the year he gave me a Valentine cactus).  But the most memorable was the time he presented me with a raised toilet seat.

The year 2008 had a rough start while I was just beginning recovery from a Leukemia diagnosis and treatment. That 14th of February I was home in between rounds of chemo. I was extremely weak from being bedridden for weeks and I needed many gadgets - among them a wheelchair, a walker, and a shower seat - to help manage every day routines we take for granted.

It’s funny what we consider a sign of true love. That toilet seat was the best gift ever and the most thoughtful as far as I was concerned. Spouse didn’t intend for it to be presented to me on that particular day – it just happened to be delivered right on time. We’ve joked a lot about it but it was to me a true sign of his love.

On a sightseeing trip during our December trek in India celebrating the second marriage ceremony of The Love Couple, a young woman who had noticed the traditional wedding henna on First Born’s hands queried, “Married?” Our glowing daughter said yes with a bright smile. The young woman then noticed The Groom nearby and asked, “Was it a love marriage?” With that same big smile he also replied yes.

I know she was referring to the fact that in India and other countries it is not uncommon for marriages to still be arranged. My mind naturally took it in a different direction.

What is a love marriage? I can only go by my own experience of 30-something years.

A love marriage is one where your significant other agrees with you when you claim it was the fault of the GPS that you are crammed between throngs of aggressive drivers in the middle of the Bronx instead of the directions you swore you set it for.

A love marriage means your partner very considerately sends you a text when he’s on his way home after working really late, even though you’ll probably sleep through the text and not see it until you hear snoring next to you.

A love marriage means when the love of your life says “we” have to take care of something (like getting the tax information together) it really translates to “you” and that’s all right.

It would be a lie to say Spouse and I have always been a splendid example of a love marriage. I’m not convinced you can find a couple that is always a perfect illustration of wedded bliss. But with each anniversary we can look back and say we made it through obstacles, occasional (no, really - just occasional) disagreements and idiosyncrasies we’ve come to accept (not necessarily love, but accept) in each other.

Perhaps you’ve heard the story where the wife claims with frustration that her husband never tells her he loves her, and the husband’s response is something like, “I put oil in your car and changed the spark plugs – if that’s not love I don’t know what is!” Ironic as that story is, it hits the nail on the marital head for me.

It’s always nice to feel special because someone makes the effort to express his or her love. Sometimes you just need to take notice of those seemingly unromantic efforts that are still significant.

Like a raised toilet seat on Valentine’s Day.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Feelings about fillings

This week I have an appointment to see a professional who is well educated, extremely gifted, highly experienced, and quite respected in her field. My dentist.

I am terrified.

Our family has always been pretty good about getting our teeth examined and cleaned on a regular basis. We got the kids started with dental care when they were very young. It didn’t hurt that their first dentist had a cool purple outfit and a bucket full of toys they got to choose something from at the end of the appointment.

My memories of the dentist as a child were not so pleasant. As an adult I avoided them for a while. Becoming a parent brought me back to reality. I decided to be an example (a good example, that is), even tolerating those gag-inducing x-rays once a year.  They have to use the kid-size x-ray film because – contrary to what Spouse might say – I DO NOT have a big mouth.

I admit that I’ve been putting off having a couple of fillings taken care of. Yes, I know that’s irresponsible and silly and possibly costly and all that. So this time I’ve kept my scheduled appointment and didn’t cancel like I did one other…. fine – a few other times.

Unfortunately, my procrastination gave the gum gremlins a perfect opportunity to settle in. It is at the point that York County can fit into one particularly obnoxious cavity.

Let me predict how this date with the dentist will go. We will chat briefly while I try to settle myself into the almost reclining chair that drops into launch position when the drilling begins. I will request (i.e. plead for) something to numb the area where they will give me the shot that numbs me before they get anywhere near me with a drill because, well, I’m a big baby.

For the rest of the afternoon I will likely be cranky because eating will not be an option for at least a couple of hours. Everyone knows you don’t have to be hungry to be miserable about not being able to eat.

I’ll also be numb around the bottom right lip and very possibly drooling. Naturally, the stars aligned so that I’ll be attending a meeting that evening and will attempt to be social while trying to keep the saliva in check.

There isn’t a good reason for me to avoid getting cavities taken care of because I happen to go to the best dental office ever. My wonderful hygienist lets me answer her questions between her prodding. We both have daughters, though hers is about 20 years younger than mine, but she appreciates those “don’t blink” stories I share with her. I think she does anyway.

My hygienist is very patient with my x-ray gagging and always tells me I did a great job. I don’t even care if she’s paid to say this so those little pieces of film don’t get flung across the room. It keeps me coming back every six months.

I’m thankful that my dentist’s office makes very sure I don’t forget our little rendezvous. I received an automated phone call, a text message, and an email. I believe they’ll be sending a Golden Retriever and a drone if I’m not there on time.

If you are reading this and are not a fan of going to the dentist, you do not have my permission to justify your hesitation because of my wimpiness. I think everyone should keep on top of their own dental health, especially since there are plenty of dentists who specialize in skittish patients. It’s not my favorite thing to do but I know it’s important, so I will just grin and bear it.

After all, they’re just fillings…. nothing more than fillings.