True love. A remarkable concept I assumed was a fantasy I would never experience.
Until Rene Joseph Simard.
Sound familiar? Are you thinking, “I’ve read that somewhere before?” Hopefully you have. Those two paragraphs are the opening reflections from my favorite chapter in The Unlikely Gift of Breast Cancer. Chapter 3, titled “The Situation is Well in Hand.” What my writing coach, Shari Caudron, called “the love chapter.”
Yes, yes, Valentine’s Day was last month. But on March 13, 2021, Rene and I will celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary. I deserve a significant amount of ribbing because I had never made it past five years of marriage, but as my brother, Lee, often reminds me, “You finally found a good one.”
I couldn’t agree more. Those of you who have met or have gotten to know Rene know he hates long meetings, he craves structure, and he loves craft beer and good Scotch. His experience in the Air Force taught him the benefits of discipline, tough but fair leadership, and accountability.
He is what many besides Lee have referred to as a “good guy.” Rene is good to me and good for me. He tolerates my incessant questions, the way I require him to not just give me an answer but to explain the basis for why he answered the question the way he did.
Grocery shopping for control freaks
Such as this classic dialogue. The scene takes place as we walk into the grocery store for our weekly shopping trip. I am very particular about the quality of our fresh produce, otherwise we’d have our groceries delivered. Since I hate grocery shopping, I attempt to make the experience as brief and efficient as possible.
Rene: “What can I go pick up for you?”
Me: “Well, please get a bag of whatever apples you like, then pick out something to grill from the meat department, then find a birthday card for your mother, and grab an 18-pack of eggs.”
Rene: “Okay, I’m gonna go look at cards first, then I’ll grab the other stuff.”
Me: “Why would you do that? The apples are right here in the produce department and the meat department is right around the corner. The way I laid it out for you is the shortest route.”
Now, in every memorable story there is a hero and a villain. Rene is the hero in this scene because he knows how to appease my control-freakiness. He picks out the apples and puts them in our cart, but then he goes to the card aisle, walking straight past the meat department. Not to rebel, but because he knows it’s way easier to read cards when he’s not juggling an armful of groceries. He completes his tasks out of order and pulls it off without me knowing he did it his way. The more logical way.
Yet more reasons why I love this man
Given my numerous failed attempts in the love department from age 16 to 40, I am so grateful I met Rene at middle age. We start and finish each other’s sentences, and I always enjoy his company. Thanks to 10 years of marriage and the sheer volume of Netflix entertainment we have consumed over the past 12 months, we have also finally learned how to watch television together. He catches things I miss when I’m daydreaming or dozing off to sleep, I hear things he can’t hear because of that whole guarding-B-52s-at-Loring Air Force Base-in-Maine-with-no-earplugs thing early in his Air Force career, and he no longer blurts out how he predicts shows will end. At the 60-minute bathroom break mark during movie night, we have learned to pause to compare notes and help each other understand what happened in the movie to that point.
What I appreciate most about being married to “Marlboro Man” (sorry, ya gotta read the book to understand why I call him that) is he accepts me for who I am as I evolve, devouring information. That inquisitive trait is what keeps me functional. I can’t seem to stop wanting to learn more, stuffing my brain with knowledge/facts/Top 10 lists.
In a couple weeks Rene and I will celebrate a decade of marriage with a 2009 bottle of Dom Perignon friends gave us a couple years ago, then we will head to Sprague Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park, where we recited our vows in the wind-driven snowy forest that Sunday. Our wedding consisted of Rene, me, a minister, a photographer, the urn with Enzo’s (our beloved chocolate lab) ashes, and Mother Nature. Maybe we’ll make a pass through the drive-through at McDonald’s in Estes Park like we did after the limo driver dropped us off at our car after we were married. When the nice woman at the McDonald’s window handed us our order she screamed, “Oh my God did you just get married?”
Rene said, “Yep, and we didn’t have time to eat lunch, so we are starving.”
To which she replied, “So why are you eating here?”
Neither of us had an intelligent answer, so we looked at each other and laughed, then drove away. We live life unconventionally. On our terms. In true bliss.
This month I am so excited to introduce you to The Encourage Project, founded and fueled by one of my new favorite cool people, Amy A. Fairchild. If you are seeking positivity, optimism, and how to simplify the complex, please reach out to her. She and I dished for almost an hour last month on her podcast. Click here to listen, or search for The Encourage Project on Apple Podcasts.
And that’s a wrap!
Thank you, as always, for YOUR encouragement and support,