Saturday, October 13, 2007

My knight....

I wanted to say how lucky I am to be married to Rich. He is such an excellent provider. Even after he was hurt; his good financial planning, the pension he recieved from work, and the savings and investments he made from years of working overtime ensured all our needs were met. Our standard of living increased every single year that we've been married.

I really do take him for granted. The man is truly amazing. I don't think there is anything that he can't do. He changed the motor and replaced an axel in my car while we were dating. He built an addition on our last residence right down to digging the footer and laying the block himself. He can fix almost anything, I couldn't count the number of VCR's, sweepers, lawn mowers, toys, bicycles and other things he has fixed. I have watched him take broken things that had parts missing or destroyed and manufacture new parts for it in his 9x11 workshop and fix it good as new and the only payment he ever receives is the smile on his childrens faces when he hands them back their repaired toy.

Everyone's good at something the saying goes, but Rich seems to be good at everything. At times it makes me upset with him, because he makes solving problems seem so easy and I struggle with whatever I do. He once told me that he wasn't born knowing everything, but rather everything he knows he had to learn himself first, but there seems to be no limit to his knowledge. He can repair an engine, wire an entire house for electricity, install and solder copper water pipes, finish concrete, SOLVE MY CHILDRENS 9TH GRADE ADVANCED ALGEBRA HOMEWORK (you don't even want to know about the math that he can do just in his head without writing anything down - I call him my calculator man). Every job he has ever had from busboy to computer operator to prison guard he has done well and been promoted at every opportunity. He can even build a computer from scratch with just a box full of the right parts. He has a work ethic that is so much higher than my own that I couldn't reach his with a ladder. This seems to be a common trait in his family and I know it frustrates him to see such a poor work ethic in his own children. Even though he has six of them to support they are all spoiled. Each one of them has far more than either him or I had growing up. This man who had to take lettuce sandwiches to school because there wasn't even bologna or cheese for his lunch as a child has given his children Gameboys, TV's VCR's and DVD players in their rooms. There were 4 children in my family and we all had to share one room (talk about a lack of privacy). Despite having more children than my parents had my kids are 2 to a bedroom, and he has even offered to convert the downstairs pantry, and garage into bedrooms for them.

I will call his childhood unpleasant and leave it at that, but as bad as it was it produced in him all these good traits that I admire. If you are poor and your car breaks down and you don't have a way to work or money to get it fixed, then you walk to work each day until you manage to fix it yourself. I realize now that the reason he has these skills and the reason that he makes them seem effortless is that to him they were survival skills growing up. His father died at a young age and his mother was absent and ambivalent and distraught over the loss of her husband. There was literally noone for him to rely on except his grandmother (and he often walked the five miles each way to her house because it was the one place he always felt loved and one of the reasons I loved her so much) then you learn to rely on yourself even if your only 9 years old when it happens.

I can not tell you enough how amazing this man is. He sacrificed his own dream of going to grad school and went to work full time at a very dangerous job that he hated just so I could stay home with our children and have a traditional family. He has saved me from the consequences of my own actions more times than I can count and I know he paid a price in suffering everytime he did. But what is truly amazing about this man I am married to, is his indominatable human spirit. His absolute refusal to give up no matter what the odds are against him. Four years ago, Rich was in so much pain that all he could do was lay on the couch with a heating pad under his back and another wrapped around his leg. He had to roll onto the floor and then climb up the furniture to stand up. He literally couldn't take a step and put any pressure on his left leg without screaming in agony even though he was taking both oxicotin and vicodin at the time. He couldn't dress himself, and he couldn't even use the bathroom himself because he would lose all feeling and control of his legs after a minute or two and fall off the toilet and onto the floor. I know that at that point he was in such misery that he really just wanted to die. If it weren't for his children who would have grown up fatherless without him, and his friends like Vince and Rich S. who spent hours talking to him at this time I am sure I would be a widow today. Praise God that I'm not.

There is a poem by rudyard kipling called IF.

IF.....

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!


MY Husband is all that and more and from that low point that was filled with pain and suffering he had yet another surgery, he forced himself to walk four hours after waking up, drainage tubes and all, dragging an IV rack with him and using it for balance. within a month he was able to walk 5 MILES with a cane. Then he found the courage and the will to go back to school after 15 years at the age of 37. He was accepted into WVU's graduate counseling program which was no small feat in itself since WVU's masters counseling program ranks 7th in the entire country. Graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.87 GPA. Worked a 40 hour a week internship despite having insomnia that often resulted in him going to work on only 45 minutes sleep, sometimes for several days in a row. In constant pain because his pain management doctor couldn't understand that it is more painful having to drive 1-2 hours each way and work an 8 hour day than it is to go to school and therefore he made no adjustment in his medication. Did such a good job that his supervisor told the school that he was one of the three best interns they had over the past 14 years. He did this while he watched his grandmother, who had practically raised him, die a very painful death of bone cancer. He came home exhausted and then almost everyday he got back into his car and drove another hour in pain to be with her at the nursing home. He also traveled to Florida during this time to be with his mother whose health is also failing and still managed somehow to complete the number of hours for his internship.

Rich often talks about his father with very deep affection. His father died when he was only 9, but in those 9 years his father shaped and molded him into a man that very few other men can measure up to. He defies all odds. He suffered this tragic injury when he ran into the middle of a prison knifefight in order to come to the aide of another officer (how one finds the courage to do such a thing I'll never know). It's this type of tradgedy that often destroys a family financially, emotionally, and spiritually. Yet somehow, mystically this incredible man ensured that his family did not suffer one bit. In fact we have a newer bigger house. I drive a car that not only did he buy for me brand new but told me to pick out whatever car/van I wanted and I got my power windows and my captain's chairs and every single thing I asked for. The new house is in the nicest neighborhood in town and I have a 1/2 acre for my kids to play on (our last house had a postage stamp size yard). He even had an addition put on the house (he paid for the shell to be put up and did the entire inside himself with a friend although it took some time for him to finish it since his injury limits the amount of work he can do).

Forced to retire at 37 he still managed to ensure that we had medical insurance for LIFE and my kids til they are 23. Not once did this amazing man ever let his own suffering prevent him from meeting his responsibilities as a father. What should have destroyed us financially he somehow turned it into a blessing. When I was pregnant with Nathan and complications arose and I was worried that I would lose the baby and that my job would endager my child he didn't even blink before he told me to stop working, and not to worry about the money because HE would take care of it, and if that cause a problem at work to tell them I didn't need the job anyway. If that were not enough Rich has bought me opals, emeralds, rubies, pink sapphires, diamonds and more diamonds. I am so used to having everything we need and most of what we want that I often have to be reminded how lucky I am, not to mention how spoiled I am.

Is it little wonder then that I get down on my hands and knees to put on this man's socks and shoes every morning because I know that often he can't and when he does so himself it is often with great pain. He is a male chauvanist in so far as he believes it is his responsibility to provide for this family and he won't let even this injury prevent him from doing so. He's a chauvanist in that he believes he is this family's protector and he often saves us from the consequences of our own actions. I have been barefoot pregnant and in the kitchen for 15 years and I am happy being a homemaker. Rich is a male chauvanist, and he is MY male chavanist and I would not trade him for the world (george clooney included).

This one's mine go find your own :)
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