I haven’t written much about my husband in this space, and I’m sorry for that, as he’s my much more interesting counterpart. Firstly, the man is a proud West Virginian. Once, when my uncle teased him about being a “hipster” for wearing all the flannels he does, Cody corrected him that he is not a hipster, but a West Virginian. My husband’s mind is always moving, like the second hand on a clock. He is often sketching at something with a pen and a scrap. He is a toy inventor, professionally. He is intensely hopeful. He is stubborn. He says I am more stubborn, but here we can never agree. He has a way of being just who he is with everybody. I don’t know a Cody at work and a Cody at church and a Cody at home. I only know Cody.
The other day he told me about a virus that causes bee's wings to fall off. He then went on to make plans for government officials: mandated that citizens work as part-time farmers, beekeepers, any agriculturally rejuvenating effort. This led him to a new topic. "So, the jumping worms." He paused, "have you heard of the jumping worms?" I shook my head. There, sitting on our Ikea couch, he launched into the full thing - crop rotations, seed-eating worms, preventative measures. We circled back to the bees. "I'd rather live in a world full of bees than a world full of mites," he ended triumphantly. I agreed, stupidly, ignorant of all things mites and bees. The night before he taught me about nuclear fusion, the source of tritium and deuterium and the costs associated with both.
You know those posts that say, “marry a man who…” where they mention things like “my husband does the dishes every night, wakes me with a coffee and a massage, only speaks in library tones, and never lets me open the car door?” Yeah. Well I think those things are great. I’m happy for those people. I would love the whole thing, but I just can’t get behind that qualifier: “marry a man who…”. My husband is a bit of a wild bird. He has never done those things. Well maybe the car door. But the point is – and you know the point – you can’t prescribe these kinds of things. What you can do is love for and love despite. Learn to honor that person like your own face in the mirror. This is hard stuff. We know this, especially, because we make mental lists about the hard stuff. Things like: #1,452 doesn’t clean sink out after shaving or #297 is too goofy with kids at bedtime. Then this person leaves the state on a business trip and you know as you trudge upstairs alone that you have never known a better person. You pray fevered prayers about their safety. You watch some Netflix alone, but it’s less sweet because they aren’t downstairs waiting for you. That subtler list, the one with all those good characteristics, comes to mind in rare form, all caps. Things like: #78 lets you drive even though you take corners like a NASCAR driver or #27 bakes a honeyed salmon that makes your knees weak.
Just for kicks and giggles, let’s go back to that “marry a man who” stuff. Let’s really immerse ourselves in it. Really get it going. You can play, too. I’ll go first. Marry a man who invents toys. Marry a man who knows everything, like Encyclopedia Brown. Marry a man that is so blasted stubborn, maybe even as stubborn as you, that you ebb away at each other’s hard corners, and you start to be shaped a little smoother. Marry the goofy one, who’ll stuff a whole piece of pizza in his mouth just to make you laugh, and you’ll think, “who is this nut?” Marry that guy.
Now it’s your turn. Go on, and be specific - tell us who we should marry. Maybe you’ve been married for fifty years or maybe you’re a fledgling; maybe you have a friend that you love like a sister or a brother. Whoever they are, I bet you know the secret to loving them. I bet, even, that if they have the audacity not to wake you each morning with a Michelin Star omelet, you’ll suffer to keep them around.