Peter and I do not celebrate Mother’s Day between the two of us. “You are not my mother,” he says. For those of you who may by now wonder how I have put up with such an insensitive scoundrel for 49 years, 45 of them in marriage, I disclose that we don’t celebrate Father’s Day either. Neither do we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Basically, we don’t celebrate any of the days for which Smith’s puts up a special aisle with candy and gifts, though we have been known to stock up on chocolates when they go on sale on Halloween morning and before the orange and black display is taken down with lightning speed and replaced with red and white for Christmas. We have also been known to write each other love letters at Christmas or on the other’s birthday, usually in lieu of a present. We have also been known to write each other love letters on any random day of the year, dating back to our dating days.
In response to my most recent blog entry, in which I bewail the loss of my working memory, Peter wrote me this love letter in a reply to my post: “My dearest angel, so here you give expression to your daily frustrations that I see all the time. Your wringing of hands, your impatience with yourself and your struggle with activities every day tear at my soul. But we have so much fun together and your memory loss is a great excuse for me when I forget to tell you something: “But remember I told you yesterday that ….” Now I hear you calling for me to help you find the blog page, which you have forgotten how to access, and I am on my way.”
Yes, my insensitive scoundrel also makes jokes about my memory loss—while in the same minute interrupting his own work to jump on his white steed and rescue this damsel in distress. So here is my belated Mother’s Day letter to my beloved:
My dearest Peter,
When we celebrated Mother’s Day with our kids and their offspring at Marissa and Adam’s house yesterday, I was so touched by Kanye’s 8-year-old wisdom: when he and Aliya each read a mother’s day poem, he dedicated his “to all the mothers in my life.” He did not say it, but my mind fill in, “whether they be male or female.”
You are the mother of my every day. It is you who put up with my meandering from one task to another, gently nudging me in the direction of my goal when I go too far afield. You are the one who drop what you’re doing a dozen times a day when I yelp for help. You are the one who, as you say, constantly feel your soul being torn by my increasing bumbling of things I used to be able to do. You help me with humor and patience. While you have always had your whacky sense of humor, you have chanced your character to become patient. During our years of getting to know each other before we got married, your mother more than once told me, “Peter is not patient. He has a little temper.” A few years ago, when I started telling our kids how patient you were with me, Marissa said, “Dad is not known for his patience.” We all guffawed in agreement.
I have loved you from the moment our eyes met under the desk in the Physics lecture hall when I dropped my book and we both bent down to retrieve it. I have loved you as I discovered your impatience and your “little temper.” I love you now, though your patience makes me a little sad when I think that part of it was generated by my increasing dependence on you. The bulk of it, though, belongs to the wisdom of your years. You have always been the smartest person I know—and when I sometimes forget it, your study-full of framed patents and window-sill-full of Utah Genius plaques remind me of it. While, for some time, now—say since our son and daughter completed high school—you have acquired formidable rivals when it comes to matters intellectual, you have no rival when it comes to wisdom. You are supreme in love and loyalty and dedication and fun.
I love you incestuously, you who are my mother and father, my lover and friend, my baby. I love you to the end of the universe, the end of time. Your Gertie.