Friday, June 05, 2009

Wise teeth and otherwise…

I’m going to be stepping back through the mists of time a bit for this one.

My only first-hand experience with wisdom teeth extraction comes from my ex-wife. She had all four of hers pulled – you know, the traditional way. She was about 20 or so, we may not have even been married yet, and I was there for her through the procedure and after. I remember doing everything I could for her – that’s just how I was.

And as today has approached, I’ve reflected on that day. I mean, her face was SO PUFFY and she was so miserable. It gives me some idea what to get all neurotic about. But more than that, I guess I’ve been thinking that old thought: I was there for her, she should be here for me. Because, you see, I was there for her, doing whatever I could to help her through, and I never got a return on that investment. You never do.

It took a while, fortunately before Vicky came along, for me to learn that you never get a return on some things because some things are not investments. That’s just the wrong way of looking at relationships. You give not in the hopes of a return but as a gift. You are giving yourself to the other person out of love, not fiscal opportunity.

Of course, one of the downsides of second marriages – at least, from my experience – is that you tend to lose the capacity to give like you did the first time around. There’s that “Been there, got burned by that” feeling. I always feel like I’m short-changing Vicky, and let’s not get started on the whole unemployment thing. If she was having her teeth pulled, would I be there for her? I don’t know. It’s hard to say.

Fortunately, I don’t have to. Vicky had hers removed during a very bumpy rollercoaster ride back in the 90’s – but we won’t get into that.

Now, you may have already figured out that I’m the one getting his tooth pulled – not teeth, just tooth – and you’d be right. (For some ungodly reason, they’re leaving three little toothular time bombs in my mouth.) She’s the one taking care of me. And here I am talking about how jaded I am towards giving! Vicky would probably be justified in making me walk home from the extraction!

But, fortunately, that’s not how things work. Vicky has said she gets tired of hearing me say “I love you” without saying why (even if, you know, tough luck). So here’s a reason why. Vicky’s capacity for giving inspires me to give more. There are a lot of things Vicky isn’t but one thing she definitely is is the engine that keeps us going. I don’t even know if she realizes it; that’s just part of her nature. And I am fortunate that it’s so.

After all, I’m gonna be a real pain in the ass after this tooth is pulled.

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