Hug Me, Kiss Me
As the months passed, I became more and more appreciative. I was lucky, really lucky. It may sound silly, but I’m being honest. I’m a married man, and coming home to my wife is the greatest thing ever—it’s the something . . . the someone.
For years, I feared making a commitment to her. I wanted things to be perfect for the one person on planet Earth I love most, but my life wasn’t in order the way I wanted it to be when we finally did get married. In fact, things were pretty far from the way I had imagined them.
My wife’s name is Gigi. Without question, she is the best thing that ever happened to me. For men who still believe that the male gender is the superior gender, consider rethinking this belief.
I walked into my home, and I heard a “hello.” Gigi was in the bedroom working on her computer. Her voice made me smile. As I heard her walk towards the door to greet me, my eyes watered. At one point, I had been afraid of marriage. After all, more than half of my family, including many distant relatives, had been married and divorced. Statistically, the odds of me having a successful marriage were not high, but I can’t imagine life without Gigi. I love her very much.
She turned the corner and reached to give me a hug and a kiss. After we embraced, I looked at her and smiled. I’m home… I’m home!… I’m home! The tears started flowing again.
I’m one of the helpless romantics that tears up quickly. My wife saw my tears. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m home. You’re my wife. You are my life. Nothing is wrong. Everything is perfect.”
I am often more emotional than Gigi. I think she is getting used to it, but she still makes comments. In our home, we call this our role reversal. I like it this way.
“You cry over nothing,” she said.
Each day when I arrive home, this emotional feeling comes over me more and more, and I bathe in it. Sometimes I like it when Gigi is not home because the emotions still come. Whether she is physically there or not, she is still there.
Sometimes, after it hits me how lucky I am, I wonder: How do single men do it, especially single men in their fifties and beyond? I know I couldn’t.
I remember when I was young. I prayed that God would send me the perfect wife, and He did. I married later in life then most of my friends, but now that we are together, it is hard to believe just how many years have passed. Occasionally I try to imagine what my life would be like if Gigi were not part of it, but as I play out these scenarios, they get boring quickly. On some occasions, life brings a little drama to remind me of how important my wife is to me.
Not long ago, an event happened that I will never forget. I was with my wife in China, preparing for a trip to America to celebrate Christmas with my American family. Because of scheduling conflicts, I had not celebrated this holiday with them in a few years. I had previously decided that nothing was going to stop me from going this time. Nothing.
A few days after I had purchased my plane ticket, Gigi got sick. Her sickness wasn’t life threatening, but it did require her to go to the hospital for daily treatments, for a period of weeks. I had a problem: My mind was set on leaving, knowing Gigi’s friends and family would help her, but my heart was set on staying.
As the date of departure grew nearer, I got very worried. I was not seeing her condition improve. The struggle between my heart and my mind turned into panic attacks. She was struggling with a facial muscle condition called Bell’s Palsy. Part of her face could hold a smile and part could not. The most important person in the world to me was suffering and needed me, even though she said she didn’t.
When she first got sick, I asked her if she wanted me to stay, fully expecting her to say, “Yes.“ Instead, her response was “Go. Spend time with your mom in America. I will be fine.”
For those who are not familiar with this condition, Gigi’s treatment included acupuncture. The doctor literally stabbed her face, arms, and hands with a large and sharp needle. When he finished, her hands often could not grip her purse, and she had a difficult time putting her coat on. It looked so painful, but she said it only hurt for a short while. I had several jobs when we went to the hospital, but my favorites were carrying her purse and helping her get dressed.
As I lay in bed a couple of days before my plane was scheduled to leave, I couldn’t sleep. All I thought about was how much I wanted to be with Gigi. The emotion hadn’t caught up with me yet, but I felt it coming. At this point, I didn’t care what she said. I was going to stay with her, even if she told me to leave. It was my job, my right, to stay with her.
I marched into the bedroom and gained eye contact with her.
“I am not going anywhere. I’m staying with you.”
“. . . but what about your plans for America? Christmas?”
“I don’t care. I want to be with you. I love you, and I want to spend the holiday with you.”
She didn’t yell at me or tell me I was making the wrong choice like she had a week before. Instead, she smiled, got out of bed, and gave me a hug.
“Thank you.” She paused, preparing to change the topic. “Are you ready to go to the hospital with me?”
“Yes, every day. I will do whatever you need me to do.”
Damn, was I happy! I made the woman I love smile. That was the greatest Christmas present she could have given me.
As perfect as that moment was, I knew I had a couple of calls to make. This is when the real emotion took over. I called my mother and, when I heard her voice, I choked up. She could tell something was wrong.
“Gigi. She’s sick.” I wanted to say more, but that’s when the tears starting coming. Mom didn’t say much. There wasn’t much to say.
After tearing up for a few seconds, I gave more details. “Her facial muscles aren’t working quite right. It’s affecting her smile, and I need to be with her because she must go to hospital every day for needles. We don’t know how many days or weeks it will take . . .”
The call ended soon after. Mom had assured me she would update the others.
That was the most memorable Christmas I ever had. I was so happy that I had stayed with her. It was the perfect Christmas.