This was originally written on February 14, 2012. I've revised it feeling that the words were good but not good enough. I feel the love even stronger than I did back then, something I wouldn't have believed possible.
Sometimes I need a return to comforts. Tonight it's Steely Dan. I've heard this album a thousand times dating back to tapes played on my Walkman as I walked to Chris's house. Once there, we probably threw a football and then went down to his basement and put on more music, most of it familiar and thoroughly analyzed by us. It was soothing, familiar, something I knew how to feel about. It was a comfort than and remains one now.
I find myself returning to many things. I've written of my daughters, the things they teach me, the things I'm trying to learn in order to be their father. I haven't written much about Stephanie, their mother, my wife, and it's time to return to thinking that helps me feel warm and happy, serene and excited, content and expectant. It's time to return to thoughts of Stephanie.
Her story is hers to tell, but ours is one she trusts me to write. Telling all of our story is too much, so no Valentine's Day I want to concentrate on just one small story that for me epitomizes who Stephanie is and has been.
Years ago, our older daughter's appendix ruptured. She was four, her little sister was two. I left her and Stephanie at the hospital to go help my brother tuck our younger girl into bed. When I returned, Stephanie was with the doctor looking at a scan.
Stephanie has a history of passing out in waiting rooms. Looking at the scan of her daughter's ruptured appendix, all those toxins swimming inside her tiny body, she looked up at me shaken but still there. She was relieved to see me, to hand off some of the burden, but she had had it all in hand without me.
Soon after, the doctor's sedated our girl and inserted a picc line from her tiny arm down to her beating heart. I waited with Stephanie who glowed with a fierce, frightening love for her child. I felt it like heat coming off a sunburn. She cried, paced, sat and all the while burned with that love. It astounded me. I've always loved our girls, but this was beyond.
They wheeled our girl out and as the anesthesia wore off she cried and whimpered. Stephanie nearly climbed into the rolling gurney and rode with her girl to the recovery room. Stephanie held her and spoke with her, much more than their bodies connected as they moved from recovery to the room where they would stay together for days. Our daughter woke to find Stephanie there, slept feeling Stephanie's presence, and knew she would be forever warmed by Stephanie's love.
I'm not a guy to say my wife is awesome. It sounds trite. It is trite. Instead, I say that twelve years after the fact, I'm miles from Stephanie and still feel the burning power of her love from all those years ago. I feel it for our younger daughter. I feel it even for me, I'm so blessed. Truth to tell, it scares me a little to know someone can love so much and so completely. And that, I can tell you, is truly awesome.
Happy Valentine's Day, Stephanie.