Oh Manliness, How Fickle Thou Art

This post may shock and surprise some of my regular readers – because you can read it in one easy sitting.

I have a lot to share, but I’m going to share it as briefly as possible.  I have my reasons.

Many of you will know that my amazing wife, Aimie, underwent surgery today.  Without getting into too many details, Aimie has had severe abdominal pain since Andon arrived.  Sometimes the pain would increase to the point where she couldn’t walk.  I felt so bad for her, but I couldn’t do anything to help.

She finally went and saw a doctor, and after a couple of diagnostic examinations, she was booked in for surgery immediately.  They found something that was relatively routine, but certain aspects of what they found might not be routine, and so they determined they needed to get in there, have a look, take care of it, and treat things further if necessary.

And so we arrived at the big day.  We didn’t do too much to prepare.  We arranged for our girls to stay at Aimie’s parents’ place overnight, as we were to be at the hospital at 7:30 AM.  Other than that, Aimie was told to pack light as she probably wouldn’t be there for long.

We got up this morning, and I was a wreck.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I’m the man around here, and I think I can say I wear the pants in this family – at least when my wife lets me.  My wife has always insisted that I should be the emotional and spiritual leader in this household and I have always had her support in everything I do.  It’s an incredible feeling, knowing that your wife has your back – in everything.  Think about that.  You can even be wrong, and make mistakes – and your wife will still back you up.  Now, don’t get me wrong – Aimie is no dishrag, and she will set me straight whenever she sees fit.  In my humble opinion, the fact that my wife supports me in everything I do and try to do, and the fact that she will always be honest and open with me, even to the point where it might hurt – THAT is the the perfect combination.

So, even though I consider myself manly when it comes to being a husband and father, I was broken this morning.  Somehow, the looming surgery, and what news it could bring, brought me to my knees.  It has taken a lot in the past to shake me.  I’ve been through enough in life, and I’m able to say I can handle most anything.  But I’ve never had the opportunity to consider the possibility that my biggest support, my strongest ally, my best friend and my love could be taken away from me.

I know that sounds sensationalistic, but we were told there was a possibility that what they would find when they did the surgery could be malignant, and possibly cancer.  Hearing that word, it’s a tough thing.  Not just about yourself, but about someone you care about.  And so we’ve had this hanging over our heads.  I’ve tried to be there for Aimie through this anticipatory period, telling her she’ll be OK, showing her how strong I am and that I’m there for her – through anything.

But this manliness thing, it has its limits.  And I found mine.  I found that, even though I can walk through fire now, my manliness doesn’t take much to get rattled and frankly, to run for cover.  All it took was to realize that the woman that is my everything is mortal, and I felt as though I wasn’t manly at all.  I felt as though my world had slowed down, and I felt as though I was unsure if I could be myself without Aimie there, making me whole.

That was this morning.  It was all I could do to contain my tears.  Yet my wife, who is the one going through this, she is sitting there – calm, cool, collected.  She did admit she was nervous, but nothing more.  I couldn’t do anything but try to be Mr. Cool, be the man, be the hero, and just stare at this woman in amazement and admire how strong she was made.

Aimie’s surgery came and went.  When I was allowed back in to see her, she was out of it – but it didn’t take long for the surgeon to come and talk to me.  He advised they didn’t find anything more sinister there than what they knew already existed.  They were able to remove all the problem areas, they were able to leave virtually everything else intact, and Aimie should be just fine after recovering from the surgery.  Hearing this was one of the best things I’ve ever heard in my life.  And somehow, knowing my wife was going to be OK restored an ounce of my manliness.

I sat beside Aimie, and spoke a prayer of thanks.  I was so thankful that we got such great news for Aimie, and I couldn’t wait until she could hear it too!  After many minutes, that seemed like hours, Aimie opened her eyes slowly.  And the sweetest smile played at her lips.  She only said a few words, but it was all I needed to hear:

“I just want to hold your hand.”

Luckily for me her eyes fell shut again, because hot tears rolled down my cheeks.  I held my wife’s hand, and it was then that I realized that my manliness isn’t really manly at all.  It’s just a state of mind I like to be in – as the man of the house.  It’s a feeling, an emotion, and a status thing.  But it’s not manly.  Because my manliness only exists because I have a wife that created it in the first place.  And I’ll take that kind of manliness any day.

Thank you so much to all our friends, acquaintances, social media contacts, co-workers and people we have no clue who they are – for your support.  The well-wishes, thoughts and prayers have been overwhelming and have carried us through.  Aimie will be alright – she’s got a couple of tough weeks ahead of her, in terms of recovery, but after that, she shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

And if you’re wondering what my reason is for keeping this post relatively short, it’s laying in bed upstairs, waiting to hold my hand.

If you’ve enjoyed this, feel free to browse my archives tab for other posts.