In that she is the focus of soooo much of what I write about, it will help put past entries into context and future ones into clearer understanding if I talk about her and her profound impact on me. The truth is I should’ve done this a long time ago. As best I can in my inadequate words, I will try to paint you a verbal picture of her, our relationship and what she means to me in this blog entry
At face value . . . what does she mean to me beyond being that legalistic – societal term: "wife"?
She is my best friend, life partner, confidante, coach, advisor, nurse, bed buddy, masseuse, lover, my best toy, and my sexual pressure relief valve; she is the mother of my children and the other half of my heart. Without her I cease to be who I am, I am an empty husk.
She is a complex and wonderful woman. She cares a lot about everything around her and all the people around her. Her brood and I are her life. She will compromise anything, her work, her mental well being and her goals to help us and be there for us. She told me many - many years ago that she feared getting too intensely involved with her artwork for it would take her away from us, and that was a loss that she would never suffer. She has always adapted and sacrificed her professional life to do whatever was best for us. I can never repay her for what she has given me personally. She has a favorite statement about herself …she claims to have the uncanny ability to bloom wherever she is planted, and she has; she is this lovely and mysterious flower that grows in my garden and gives me great joy as I watch her ever changing blossum.
Her complexity arises from her gifts. She is an extremely talented artist. She graduated summa cum laude from a major university with a BFA in illustration, and a minor in medical illustration (drawing the inside organs of dead people). Over the years she has been a contract freelance illustrator, label designer, magazine editor and art director, fashion illustrator, fashion designer and fashion design professor. She is a gifted watercolor artist, drawing and printmaking person, calligrapher, medical illustrator, seamstress, knitter, computer artist, marketing person, e commerce expert, and editor. She bakes, and does wonderful wood carving. To say I am intimidated by her skill is an understatement. I married the person that epitomizes all the skills that I admire in art but do not have.
But beyond her accomplishments, I fell in love with her for her personality and her thoughts. She is a warm, affectionate and giving person and those qualities come out in conversation. My earliest time spent with her was in simple conversation over meals. I would characterize those early conversations as a warm spa that relaxed me and made me feel close to her even though I didn’t know her that well yet. I bathed in her words, and fell under her spell. She was amazing to talk to, and still is. Talking is our number one recreation, usually over coffee. She can mesmerize me with her words, thoughts and her expression. I fell in love with her mind and her ability.
We met in the cafeteria at college when she was a sophomore and I was a junior (she was 19 and I was 20). We met in September. I ate three meals a day with her during all of September and October before I got the guts to ask her out. I say ate …I didn’t eat. I drank coffee. Our favorite meeting time was dinner, which was frequently 2 hours; the eating ended after 30 minutes, the rest was drinking.
She was (is) a striking woman, she is 6 foot tall, and it is all legs (we have the same inseam length and I am 6 inches taller). She is not buxom, but she is subtly curvy. At 58 she still weighs within 5 lbs of what she did when we first met and she is just as lithe and sexy as she was then. I was intimidated by her body then, to say nothing of her skill and intelligence.
I eventually asked her out after 3 months of eating all my meals with her. By December I was crashing over night in her dorm room. Our recreation was listening to Moody Blues, Cream, Procol Harem, James Taylor, Carroll King, and others of that ilk while we kissed, cuddled, slept together and talked and talked …even in bed. There was absolutely no intimate sexual activity beyond fondling until January even though we were sleeping together. We talked endlessly in bed while we cuddled . . often until 3 or 4 AM. By February we were doing mutual masturbation.
That spring I asked permission to go down on her and she acquiesced. It was a moving experience for me and it almost made her head explode. We engaged in a lot of oral sex that spring until it was time to part for the summer. We agreed that when we got back together in the fall we would make a decision whether we were serious or not and we would decide then whether making love was the next step. Realize that this was right after the summer of love, free love was rampant, and we were both very liberal. People around us were fucking indiscriminately like crazed weasels.
But our relationship was based on a mental connection, and we both recognized the depth of that connection and we valued it highly. We didn’t abstain from sex out of religious belief . . . we were both agnostics then and still are. We abstained out of a fear that sex would get in the way of this amazing interpersonal connection that we established through our thoughts, actions and our caring for each other. We were psychologically, spiritually and emotionally bonded; it was very - very satisfying. That summer we were apart I went crazy not being with her. I went up to Vermont and spent a weekend with her at her parent’s home.
That weekend we agreed we were meant to be, and we made the commitment to be together; we sealed it with a kiss. That kiss was so important to me; I remember the time, the place, and the emotions. When we parted lips we both cried. Later that summer she went to Planned Parenthood and got on the pill.
When we got together in September we prepared for this almost holy act of consummating our love commitment. It turned out to be an awful experience. In fact the sex for the first six months was awful, it didn’t get reasonable until February and then the best that could be said was that at least it wasn’t awful. We were both so young, she was very tight, and nervous I was unskilled and ignorant. We were both so naïve. But somehow it didn’t matter because we had this other connection in our heads. We had an intimate need for each other so we compensated with a lot of oral sex, hand jobs and myriad other ways to show our physical love. During this time the one bright spot was that I learned to love her vagina and all its tricks and she learned to give herself to me and get deep pleasure from my awkward efforts. We were engaged by Christmas and were married 8 months later on August 11 1973. It was 23 months from the September when we first met.
She was going into her senior year of college and I had just graduated and was entering graduate school. In our first year of marriage she was a senior in college and I was a graduate student. This was unheard of in 1973. . you didn’t get married at 22, you shacked up. But we had established a pact to be there for each other and help each other so marriage just seemed logical.
That August 11th , 37 years ago began the evolution of our relationship. We began to not only support each other, but change each other and change together. She helped me bring focus to my meandering ideals, she helped me become goal oriented, she taught me that caring means committing yourself to the best job you can possibly do even if it means testing your limits. She taught me about total emotional commitment to another person, to the point that you would give your life to save theirs. I taught her to reign in her emotions and put that energy to productive use. I gave her unconditional love that allowed her to let her hair down and not fear withdrawal of affection for expressing her feelings and emotions. I taught her that everything is relative and our commitment to each other has supremacy over everything whether its work, creativity or a job. We changed each other in so many ways there is no room to describe them all here.
But we also grew and changed together. I was 22 when we married and she was 21; we were children. But because our relationship was based on our emotional-communicative bond we were able to manage the transition from adolescence to adulthood and help each other in the process. The channels of communication were there to help us. It was like surfing on a not so perfect wave.
We moved from NY to Maine and she adapted, displaying this amazing ability to thrive and grow wherever we went. Then 5 years and 10 months after we said our vows our first child was born. J’s gifts blossomed and glowed and became apparent when she became a mother. She transitioned from skilled artist to dedicated nurturer and loving guide; she demonstrated such deep compassion and love for our first child it staggered me. I was often brought to tears of joy seeing her and our infant daughter together.
Then a pattern began that endures to this day. Her days were for her family but at 8 PM, her time in the studio began, usually lasting until at least midnight. She maintains that schedule to this day and that in turn has created the window for me to communicate with all of you on this site. My time reading has been replaced with SF.
As kids 2 and 3 came along things got more complicated. When number 3 was born she was 36 years old and an accomplished professional, but she continued to provide unselfish support to the three of them and me, with late nights for herself.
Our sex life was the sex life of most couples in their 30’s and 40’s as their careers and families consume them. This blog chronicles the mediocrity of our sex life in other entries so I won’t bother here. There were definite high points, but it was best characterized as ok to above average. Despite the distractions and the mediocrity as middle age loomed I never strayed. To this day I have never strayed.
But one thing that did happen that I will say here was that our emotional connection blossomed and deepened during my 40’s, despite the ho-hum of our love life. When I started my sexual quest in my mid forties, my physical connection with her changed. As I matured I learned to transcend my need for sex; that need was replaced with deep physical – mental connection with her; it was almost spiritual. Interestingly enough that spiritual connection eventually illuminated my ability to understand pleasure, and how to give it and how to experience it; it enhanced my libido and gave me the ability to use it... making me a more sexual person.
The depth of my spiritual – emotional connection to J not only endures to this day, but it has strengthened. When I hug J, my heart slows down and I forget whatever is bothering me. She taught me the true meaning of being in the moment. When I am in her arms, she centers me . . . instantly. Nothing that is battering at my life matters when I hold her. All I sense is her warmth, her love, and the sensation of her body as we hold each other in that moment in time.
In our 40 to 50’s the kids’ demands on us changed and we exited the tunnel of parenting young children. I had a health crisis which affected me profoundly. In that crisis I realized in visceral and real terms the power of our spiritual connection and her love for me. Three days after major open heart surgery, they removed the tubes from me and stood me up. I was so weak I could barely stand. The first thing I did was hug her and lean on her, all 240 lbs of me on her 130lbs. As weak as I was, I leaned on her and I felt the power and strength of her love. My body actually gained strength from her love for me at that moment as I took my first tentative steps. I felt it.
You could say that in our love life and our emotion connection reached a new and exquisitely complex level in our 50’s.
She is now so much a part of me that I can understand how people collapse when their life partner succumbs. I can feel her presence in my life even when we are hundreds of miles apart. Her physical touch sets me on fire erotically and affectionately. If we don’t talk during the work day I feel emptiness. We still sit on our couches on Sundays, she leaning on me as we drink coffee and talk our way through whatever is happening in our lives and our life together.
She has grown to be this incredibly sexy and sexually self assured woman who knows me and knows my body as well as I know hers. She has learned to tease my orgasms from me and I have learned to caress her and coax sweet pleasure from her. Our bodies are not as lovely and perfect as they once were, but my eyes do not see the imperfections in her body, I only see sexiness. The most important thing I see as I look at her naked body is the perfection of her love. That recognition of her pure love for me sets my mind on fire and makes me hard and wet. She is so sexy.
So as I enter the last months of my fifties and sixty is waiting for me just around the corner, what have I learned?
Number one I have learned that I am a lucky man indeed. While I was still a boy, I found a woman. I have learned that communication and a bond of deep emotional love has made me a wiser and more sensitive man. I have learned that the power of a woman’s love is transcendent; it has helped me weather developmental, emotional, medical and psychological challenges and emerge a stronger man. I have learned to love a woman totally and in effect to love and respect all women for what they represent. I have learned that her presence in my life forces me to be in the moment and relish all the sweetness that life has to offer.
But above all else I learned the wisdom of the vows that we spoke to each other 37 years ago, that she wrote:
“Wear this ring as a token of the love we share and the love I give to you. Make it worn and old with the years as we grow and change together. Our separate pasts can never be shared but our future is one. Lets us grow older and wiser together”
So as I sit here 37 years later (almost) I say yes J. it is true. We have grown older and wiser together. I am a better man for it.
I love you dear J, even though you are 300 miles away as I write this .... I know that you know it.
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