That summer of 1978, he was home on leave from the Navy and we spent nearly every day together. He fascinated me, not only the world traveler who had seen whales burst from watery depths, he was trustworthy. One morning that summer I shared with him my most closely held secret, the one I was certain would send him scurrying for the hills. But with tears in his eyes, he apologized. On behalf of men who would never use, mistreat, or abuse a female, he wanted to apologize.
I wanted to jump his bones.
lol For the first time in my life of being chased by horny teenagers, pursued by men twice my age, and frightened by pervy old men with bad intentions, the restraint of this young man moved me. I asked if he was at all attracted to me, or was our relationship platonic only. With snapping eyes that have the uncanny ability to turn beady and hard in seconds, he assured me that he was VERY attracted to me.
|Feb. 1978, @ St. Thomas Island, and yes, those are prints of his |
flat feet . He doodled this in the sand 6 months before
he would declare the same to me.
But in his prayers for me, he was certain he was being led to move very slowly in his desire to pursue me. That he was to allow ME to set the pace to our courtship. I told him that I thought I would like to try kissing him. After a sloppy false start ;) we got the hang of it.
This man for me, was not just pursuing me for selfish desire, he wanted to wed me. A year later, we stood before friends and family and made our vow to each other to love, honor and trust. We quickly found out that we were as compatible between the sheets as we were out in public. Being in the Navy made for a feast and famine type of sexual hijinks for this young couple. The Navy thought they were sending him out to sea to complete his job, but we knew the truth. He went to sea so we could recover and build up the strength necessary for the next home port visit.
Yes. I'm aware that this information falls squarely in the category of TMI.
The man made my eyeballs sweat.
This was the same man who 6 years later, held me in his arms and sang to me while I miscarried our first conceived child.
The same man who 8 years later would chat about Cardinal baseball with the anesthesiologist, holding my hand and who got the first glimpse of our son. He had to reassure me repeatedly that we really had a son, and he really was perfect.
|James' birth 1988|
The same man who 10 years later, did way more than his share without complaint, while I finished nursing school.
The same man 13 years later, who did not object when I decided being a working wife and mother was not who I was supposed to be.
The same man who 18 years later, allowed me and our son to spend a week each month with my father while he went through his chemo treatments. The husband who did without us so that my parents got the emotional and physical support they needed.
|My momma, Patricia Fern Sexton Shepherd|
|My daddy, Ivan Russell Shepherd|
The same man, 20 years later sprang to my defense when someone from the past denied his wrongs against me. He held my broken heart and helped me find my way to healing.
The same man who still brings me roses.
The same man who 31 years later, held me tightly when the diagnosis came back devastating. A man who assured me that while breasts were fine window dressing they were not the sum of what he loved in me.
|Steroid face...ha ha ha|
He is the man who held my hand when our son spoke his own words of love and vow to the only girl he had ever loved.
There is a part of the marriage ceremony which declares, "That which God hath joined together, let no man tear asunder." In our society today there is a lot of discord about defines marriage, whether it is important, whether it has anything to do to with God at all.
This Friday, July 27th, I will celebrate 33 years with the same man. When so many claim to grow apart in marriage, we have grown together so tightly that many consider us INgrown. But this I know. Only God could choose the same man for me that would make my eyeballs sweat when I was 18, sing to me when we were losing a child, defend me against my enemies, uphold me in the deaths of my parents, and love me through the pain and mutilating losses of breast cancer over the course of three decades.
Only God who could have seen into the future to know what I need now would be the same man I needed 33 years ago.
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