Let me tell you about my wife.
My wife is the hardest-working person I know, and I'm often after her to dig her heels in a minute and sit down, stop and rest a minute. But she's raised our two kids and they're now able to sit at a lunch counter with cross-country truckers or show up for tea with the Duchess of Windsor- without batting an eye or seeing a difference between the two. Her tireless focus and giant conscience from their beginnings of person-hood here on the earth have earned her the coveted "Mother of the Century" award.
She married me, whom when we met lived in a plain room with a pair of turtles, a girlie calendar, a bass and amp, and rode a bicycle to a restaurant job. I owned nothing, and on our first date picked her up in a car with no hood and took her to "Free Wings Night" at the Ocean Mist in Matunuck, RI. Honestly, I can't figure the girl out, but we had a laugh and a lot of the same thoughts on life. For me that's a rare bird indeed, and we stuck happily. Besides, she was a knockout.
Marriage for me, who had never been able to stick with anyone successfully for 3 months, was a revelation. The arrival of children brought me to the realization that the only way forward was to strap into the cockpit and hit the gas! I was in for an education, and those around me, who had chosen to love me, were in for it with me... It's taken 12 years and some significant sweat and tears (for other people, like my wife) to get this far, but I think we're out the other side. I owe her a life of leisure and rest at this point, but I can't give it to her. My children are the redemption of my life, given and brought to thrive by her. Okay, me too, but it would have turned out way different without her constant love and attention; and the experience of having pretty fully grown up, which I did not have.
She's an accomplished musician and artist, intellectually gifted to the point of making me a poor blockhead (not hard to do anyway, but...), funny as a fine-dining waiter with a streak of sarcasm serving in a biker bar, and a stunning example of earthy, yet unearthly, beauty. She has put up with my embarrassingly awkward social skills, brutally compromising expression of badly conceived opinions, skewed points of view and lack of general understanding for 14 years. Now that I'm maybe straightening up a few issues I sometimes worry that I've done irreparable damage to the poor girl, but she remains straight as a Georgia Pine, maintaining the wry innocence of a pretty young nun with a flask hidden under her habit, looking for when it's safe to 'praise the Lord'.
She's a cool kitty, and I owe her something better than the better part of my life. My occasional callousness and loose, cavalier attitude has at times potentially compromised her socially- without my meaning to do so- and I think it's time I made better effort to show off all the good, brilliant, wonderful thing that she is to my life. I won't get close, but I have to try. But if I'm being objective, and telling the truth, I really won't have to.