Nothing soothes the savage adolescent quite like cruising around a converted high school gym while fantasizing about asking one of the older girls for a couples’ skate or hanging out with the cool kids playing air hockey.
What I loved most was the music.
In a time before CDs and iPods, save for the few tapes I owned, those nights were the only times when I could hear my favorite songs. That usually meant AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” REO Speedwagon’s “Take it on the Run” and Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” I’d clump up to the DJ booth and beg to hear “Mr. Roboto,” so that I could show off my speed and backward-skating skills to the girls who never really noticed me.
What power that must’ve felt like, giving the people what they want.
I am no DJ. I don’t take requests.
But a recent email forced me to reconsider: “… you must tell me how Sumer (AKA My Lovely Wife) is doing. I read about Jellybean and The Diva, but all I hear about Sumer is how pretty she is, and I already know that.”
Too often, I’ve used My Lovely Wife as window dressing for the hijinks of Jellybean and The Diva. She’s the voice of reason to my childishness. She’s our conscience; the glue that holds us together.
She’s that and so much more that I’ve never bothered to write about. A well-meaning family member recently suggested that she praise ME more often … yeah, that’s what I need. I get 600 words a week to praise and talk about myself.
My Lovely Wife has no such platform, and it turns out that I’m guilty of treating her in real life the way I treat her in columns. I pat her on the head and move right along, assuming that she’s fine and happy, enjoying her role as mother (to others above and beyond those she gave birth to), wife and professional nurse education coordinator.
But she is so much more.
My Lovely Wife is one of the bravest people I’ve ever known. She’s made hard decisions when lesser people would’ve accepted their station in life and made the most of it. She raised a child by herself, graduated from college and got a master’s degree — all while working full-time. She’s sacrificed in order to make her child’s life better. She’s always held her head up high, while everything around her seemed to be falling apart.
She’s selfless to a fault, taking care of the emotional needs of others while neglecting her own needs. She’s spent her life rolling with the punches, but is finally learning to punch back. And I couldn’t be more proud of her. For a woman who has always appeared confident and carefree, she spent years screaming on the inside.
My Lovely Wife is discovering her voice, and I’m watching a new woman emerge from the shadows, embracing the light much like the actress who once shown so brightly on the CAST stage in her role as Maria in “The Sound of Music.”
She is more than just My Lovely Wife. She is her own woman, and I’m proud to tell the world about her … next time without waiting for the world to ask.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org