Love

FIRST ENCOUNTER

~ although we like to tell people we met at church, we actually met at a meat market. Not a meat market as in “Al’s meats” mind you, but a bar so sleazy that you swore you would never go on a single date with anyone you met there.

~ the real name of the establishment was Chester Drawers, but everyone knew it as either “Check for sores” or “Drop your drawers!”

~SHE offered to buy ME a beer… and had me at, “Can I…”

COURTSHIP

~On our first date, Stacey had to become like a cross between a ninja and Chuck Norris to deflect my advancing Ralph Furley-like loose lips.

~When we finally did smooch, it had the oh so romantic setting of in the street while standing next to my primered car door.

~ I attempted (unsuccessfully) to get to 2nd base on my parents driveway.

~ In what was a friendly tennis game, she made the mistake of setting me up with an easy lob at the net. In an instant, I turned into Focker, and smashed one directly at her at a speed that John McEnroe himself would have been proud of.

~ Obviously I knocked some sense into her, because we were engaged just 4 months after we met.

~ the first time Stacey met my parents, she was served Mom’s famous lasagna. As sheer luck would have it, lasagna happened to be one of Stacey’s favorite meals. Ummm… Mom, your lasagna tastes a little different tonight, what did you put in it? Oh… Of course… Tofu. Yum!

~We had our bachelor/bachelorette parties in Vegas on the same weekend. We weren’t planning to see each other, but for some reason her slightly inebriated fianc√© getting escorted (okay dragged) out of the casino by the nice muscular men caught her attention and we combined parties (note to anyone going to Vegas- the dealers don’t like to be told repeatedly to take the parrot off their shoulders and to “gently place” them elsewhere. — especially when only the slightly inebriated man can see said parrots.

MARRIED LIFE

~ we started out in the San Francisco Bay Area where Stacey had to cross the Bay Bridge to get to work every morning. Her car broke down once on the middle of the very heavily commuted bridge at about five on a dark and very foggy morning. When she called her knight in shining armor to come save her, she was met with a resounding zzzzzzzz….

~ many people have a “5 second rule,” when it comes to meat, I have a “well nothing is growing on it yet” rule.

~Stacey mentioned that she thought the best Mexican food came from “dive restaurants”. For some reason she wasn’t impressed when I took her out on what I thought would be a romantic date to a gas station.

~ I don’t mean to brag, but I am a really good gift giver. Some of the gems that has she has received on special occasions and holidays include a scale and “the gift” of intimacy.

~ nobody confused me with Albert Einstein, when we were running low on formula so I substituted heavy whipping cream in the baby’s bottle.

~ I once won a sales contest that paid for me and a guest to travel through the romantic countryside of Portugal. To this day, Stacey still has never been to Europe as I took one of my brothers on that trip.

~ On our 15th wedding anniversary, I started a special savings account to take her to Greece for our 20th anniversary. I recently changed my language preference on that account to Spanish in hopes that my balance might go from a couple of bucks to muchos pesos.

~ I have a feeling that I’ll be saying, “What??? You remember me saying Greece as in the country??? Well I have a photographic memory, and I am pretty sure I said that I would take you to the romantic City of Greeley, Colorado.”

I better stop before all the women reading this attempt to leave their own husbands to find themselves a peach like me. Why in the world am I writing this??? Because sixteen years ago today, I had the privilege and honor of marrying my very beautiful wife. If our relationship has survived all of those things, it’ll survive Delaney’s leukemia.
I am not going to lie, cancer is very tough on a marriage. For some reason I don’t think the secret potion on Cupid’s arrows consists of lots of stress, increased irritability, lack of sleep, the feeling of helplessness that you can’t even protect your own family, sadness, fear, and more stress. I remember something our Pastor said to us while we were praying together on Day One of her leukemia diagnosis: he said God had already blessed Delaney with two parents who not only love her, but also love each other very much. He was right.
The next day as we were waiting for Delaney to get out of surgery, we started talking to the woman that worked the desk of the post-operation waiting room. As our daughter was getting her port put in, she was telling us about a couple who were in the day before to get their child’s port removed. The mother of that child commented, “We survived.” The waiting room employee mistakenly thought she was referring to her child and said, “Oh yeah, he did great.” The child’s mother corrected her, “No, WE, as in my husband and I, WE survived.” And as they did, we will do also.
Later a friend, who is an elder at our old church in Texas, called to say that he and all of the elders were not only praying for Delaney, but also specifically for me and Stacey and that we would be drawn closer together because of what we were going through. Our conversation reminded me that cancer could be a very big problem in a lot of different ways, but it was nowhere even close to being as big as our God.
So today, on our 16th wedding anniversary, I just want to tell my wife who has stuck with me as I got thick and thicker, who if possible is more beautiful on the inside than she is on the outside, who is the brains of this outfit, who under that hair dye is as grey as a mule, who puts up with dumb jokes like that, who is such an amazing mother and my best friend and sometimes nemesis, that she is so much stronger than she realizes and that I love her even more today than I did on that day sixteen years ago when she took my breath away as she walked down the aisle.
Cancer will not be the end of us. My gas maybe, but not cancer. I love you more than you know and look forward to celebrating about 47 more wedding anniversaries with you. And I am sorry you have to wait so long, but it’ll all be worth it: you are going to just love Greeley.

A tale of a few very different packages

I hope this isn’t inappropriate or come off wrong in any way. My wife (aka. my common sense) tells me that if I have to ask, I probably shouldn’t say it, but she’s at work, so here goes. Let me first point out that I had two friends run the Boston Marathon yesterday. In fact, one of them even wrote “Cancer can kiss my Stache” and drew a mustache on her arm to honor Delaney (I put the pic on the Facebook page). Both runners I knew did great and more importantly, both are fine. Unfortunately, as we all know by now, that isn’t the case for everyone else that was there.

Why? Because a coward or some cowards left some packages with explosives intended to kill or maim as many people as possible. As of right now, they don’t know who did this or the reasons. I’m home with Delaney who isn’t feeling so hot today so I won’t be watching this tragedy over and over again in the news (not that I am better than that by any means, I just don’t think she needs to see it). If I could watch I would want to learn more about the three people dead including an 8 year old child and over 100 people injured. With each different camera angle or different eyewitness, we are reminded over and over again of the evil that was done via some packages in Boston yesterday.

At almost the same time the explosions were happening at the finish line, a mail carrier was delivering a package to Highlands Ranch, Colorado. All you had to do was see the picture of the big mustache in the middle and all the mustaches that decorated  the envelope to know that it was addressed to Delaney. Inside were 22 handmade cards from students in Rossmoor, California who will probably never meet Delaney (a lot of them are the same age of the little boy who lost his life yesterday in Boston). As opposed to the terrorism in Boston, there was no evil in this package. There was only love.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.” I don’t know that I would call myself a “good” man, but these excerpts from some of the cards are my attempt to share the glories of love from a group of 7, 8, and 9 year olds that make up “The Stu Crew” of Mrs. Stuart’s Class:

~Dear Delaney, I think you are being a super trooper. You are the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen.

~Dear Delaney, I hope you get so much better you are way more braver than me and I’m 9 years old! You’re probably smarter than me. You’re so cute you should be a model!

~You are very funny! I am in the second grade. I love soccer too! My team is called the Blue Dolphins. You are very nice!

~ I think you are very very cute and pretty. You are a great hero. I think you are so so smart. Do you know I have red hair too!

~I think you are cute from head to toe. I went to the beach before and watched whales. Did you know I like tennis?

~ Dear Delaney, You are a real trooper. Leukemia will not beat you! You are a generous, cute, and pretty girl! You are a roll motel for people in hard time. My grandma’s best friend has a desese, but there will be a cure for her and espeshialy you! You are a great hero for many people! (including me) :). GET WELL SOON! Sincerily,Brooklyn Nicole.

Me too Brooklyn Nicole, me too!

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