One day, "when the dust has finally settled and the air has quickly cleared..." (you really gotta be a Buffett oldtimer to appreciate that line) I'll lavish expensive gifts upon you and we'll have Christmases that would make Currier and Ives blush with envy. For now, Christmas will be a matter of the heart and an opportunity to spend some downtime together. I'll cook you some shrimp etouffee Christmas Eve and we'll get up Christmas morning and I'll cook you breakfast and we'll enjoy our first Christmas morning at home...although we've been in this home for 12 years now. For now, please accept these thoughts as presents from me to you:
No one..and I mean NO ONE would've hung with me through the last few years of bad health, bad self-esteem, limited ventures into public and general sadness all brought on by massive amounts of excessive weight. I lived as a recluse and forced you to do so as well. Anyone else would've bolted and left me to flounder in my misery. You stayed, you fought, you pushed and you made bad days good and good days perfect. I'll never be able to repay that.
We dated for a long time before I let you see the little crash-pad I called home. It was everything you'd think a habitat for a single man and a black Labrador Retriever would be. But it didn't scare you off...not even when you saw, oh, two or three weeks worth of beer cans stacked in my shower. I'll never, ever forget the look on your face when you came out of the bathroom and said "Uh..you have empty beer cans in your shower..." You accepted my explanation that, at the time, I worked in a hot and dirty environment and every afternoon had a shower and cold Bud Light before I did anything else. Beer cans in the shower would've scared off many women...not you.
No matter how old we get, I swear there's still going to be that little girl living in your face. Every time you and your dimples huddle over a bowl of cereal on the love seat I see a little girl eating cereal and watching her Saturday morning cartoons. "Forever young" indeed. Folks think your dad robbed a cradle because your mom looks so young. I know that's going to be us one day, 'cause I'm already looking a lot older than you (not exactly the affect I was shooting for when I lost all this weight..but it has made me look my age, I think.)
If I live to be a hundred I'll never forget a boat ride we took off of Tybee Island to watch dolphins play. After a half hour or so and a hundred dolphins chasing our boat I looked over and you had tears rolling down your face. I said "Oh my God! What's wrong??" And you said "they're so beautiful...it just makes me cry." If I didn't know it before, I knew then I'd done very well.
I tell folks all the time "I married a Baptist Georgia fan and turned her into a Methodist Tech fan." The fact that you realized that was a transition that would make our life easier is just more proof of how perfect you are. I ain't quite conservative enough to be a Baptist and there's NOTHING in this world that could have me wearing red and black. I'm just glad we don't have to buy one of those stupid tags for our cars that says " a house divided" and has a "GT" on one half a "G" on the other....or a picture of John Wesley on one side and Charles Stanley on the other.
I'm eternally grateful that one of the lasting memories I'll have of my mother is the way her face lit up every time you walked into a room. Even after Alzheimer's began to rob her of mind and personality she never, ever wanted to hear me being anything less than adoring to you. How many times did we hear her say "TIMOTHY!" and wag her finger in my face when I started giving you a hard time about something. She knew I'd done well and, even in the last days of her life, didn't want me to blow it. The fact that she called you one of her "girls" (the same designation afforded my sisters) told us you were hers.
I really do think the hard part's over. Improved health and attitude really has me thinking we can conquer anything. I truthfully don't know what I'd do without you or how I'd be spending this Christmas without you...probably taking a hot shower and adding to my shower stall beer can collection...