Six years ago, 13 years into my marriage, I fell in love with another boy. He was delicate, hungry for affection, and a bit emotional – not my usual type. Not only that, as he ages he seems to seek out and revel in the attention of other girls, thus turning me into the jealous type.
He interrupts me, curses my name when we don’t agree, and doesn’t particularly care for my cooking. His attitude can be downright embarrassing at restaurants. You know that bit of advice your mom gives you? “If he’s bossy and overbearing to wait staff, then cut him loose!” By that logic I’d have let him go long ago. He’s not even a very good tipper!
Physically, he also goes against my norm. He’s short, a bit on the skinny side, and isn’t great with the heavy lifting. The personal hygiene also leaves a bit to be desired – and he really doesn’t like it when I point that out to him.
So why do I continue to put up with him? On the plus side, he’s got a great sense of humor. He’s pretty good-looking, is frighteningly charming, and often generous with the foot rubs. He cheats at board games but will happily hand over his “Get Out of Jail Free” card if I’m in need. His affection is spontaneous and he hands me flowers by the fistful.
And when he throws those scrawny little arms around me, there is no doubt in my mind that we were made for each other.
Who is this “other man” in my life that my husband so readily tolerates? My 6-year-old son, Jack.
I grew up in a family overrun by girls – I have two sisters and a niece (who’s expecting a baby girl). Most of my cousins are girls. So it was a shock to the female-dominated family system when I announced through tears to my mother that I was having a boy.
“Well,” she paused. “It’ll be OK.”
I wasn’t so sure. A boy? What will I do with that? My middle sister, meanwhile, was excited that there would finally be someone in the family who could appreciate her marble collection.
But that dimple, the devilish sparkle in his eye and the simple joy he gets out of bodily functions make his charms pretty irresistible.
But it’s on Valentine’s Day that he often cements his place in my heart. Last year, when Jack announced out of the blue that he loves me so much that he wants to marry me, I melted like a Whitman’s sampler in the sun.
Speaking of which, having another man in my life works out pretty well around this time of year. While he has a few other “girlfriends” at school, I’m pretty sure that at least for now, I get the biggest card and fanciest box of chocolates – and hopefully, the most love.
Take that, schoolgirls!
I know someday he’ll have another woman in his life, but it’s my job for now to help forge the man who will at some point down the line become someone’s dream Valentine.
But until then, I’m a two-man woman on Valentine’s Day – just as I like it.