A Preliminary Warning: This story is long. I will break it up into installments to be posted over the course of several days, but some of the posts will still be long. Feel free not to read it. You may not want to after the following warning and disclaimer anyway.
A Warning about the Disclaimer: In the following warning, I say a bad word. But it's okay 'cause I talk about love. A lot.
Disclaimer: This story may sound like the most sentimental ooshy-gooshy lovey-dovey kitsch I have ever written, and maybe it is.
I am usually a firm believer in Emily Dickinson's advice to "tell the truth, but tell it slant," and Jesus' example of telling parables instead of 5 point sermons, preferring indirection, especially in matters of goodness, wonder and love. Too much attention to love and goodness without acknowledgement of the shit that not only happens, but also frequently rains down from ceiling fans is cheap and dishonest.
(This is why I have a hard time with Hollywood happy endings, Thomas Kinkade paintings, and musicals.)
But there are times—seldom as they may be—when unqualified goodness or love, or whatever, shines through so brightly, so unencumbered by the crap that sticks so easily to everything it touches. Those times do happen and this is one of those times. So I am not going to tell it slant; I am going to tell it the way it is.
You have been forewarned.
Let the story begin.
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I have never loved someone so much in my life.
In these last days of Shannon's pregnancy, every five minutes or so I will stop whatever I am doing just to look at her. My eyes will moisten and my chest will swell with pride and unqualified love and I cannot imagine loving anyone more. I can only imagine growing and being with her for the rest of our lives.
(Some of you are probably wondering right about now what heinous act I possibly could have perpetrated against Shannon that would require this degree of online, public schmoopy talk. But I assure you, I write not under marital duress or with any ulterior motive.)
I tell Shannon quite often that I love her.
Usually, though, I do so with the sad knowledge that habitual repetition waters down any statement. It erodes one's ability to feel the full force of the message.
That's why "I love you" can be such a tired phrase.
Sometimes I try to find new ways of saying it but lately, in the final days of Shannon's pregnancy, that novelty hasn't been needed.
Shannon will just be going about her business, sweeping the kitchen or petting the dogs, and I will look at her and a smile will spread from my mouth to my eyes, and she will smirk and, with happy suspicion, say, "Whaaat?"
And I will simply say "I love you."
As she carries my unborn daughter, as we spend our days together in eager anticipation of the arrival of our love-become-flesh, every time I say I love you—that oft uttered phrase that can be so tired—I say it with the full, unmitigated force of its meaning and I am confident that she receives it that way.
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Check back for part 2, when I will stop gushing long enough to start really telling the story.
Also, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9,Part 10