From Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul

Who, Me?

The entire sum of existence is the magic of being needed by just one person.

Vi Putnam

One of our family jokes was that any time we accused my husband of a good deed, prank or mistake, his reply would always be, “Who, me?” We told him we were going to have that engraved on his tombstone. In reality it would be fitting because it would remind us—“Yes, you . . .”

You who painted my toenails when I was eight months pregnant. You who held our baby in your arms after his surgery because you didn’t want him to wake up in a strange bed. You who gave me seedless grapes and Cheez-Its for Valentine’s Day because you knew that was what I liked. You who cried in front of me for the first time when my father died. You who always saw that your family had what they needed and most of what they wanted. You who never bought anything for yourself. You who required so little of me as a wife and denied me even less. You who knelt down to talk eye-to-eye with me as I sat in the chair in the living room the day my mother died. You who planned for our future from the beginning of our marriage.

You who I still love as inscribed inside your wedding band, “More than yesterday, less than tomorrow.” You who fixed everything that broke, fell off or clogged up in our house. You who wouldn’t spend three dollars for the right tool but would give one hundred dollars to a friend in need. You who went back to your parents in their illness to be the son they knew they could depend on. You who never ate the last cookie, biscuit or piece of pie. You who told me when I complained about the boys’ spending: “Well, we’re not paying bail money.” You who would refer to an employee as someone who worked with you, not for you. You who gave me the good car to drive. You who found four-leaf clovers and told me the reason I couldn’t was because I was only looking at the three-leaf ones.

You who took care of the dog no one wanted. You who bought me a new printer but never bought yourself a new reel. You who never let the boys leave to go back to school without your checking their oil and wiping off their headlights. You who never left my gas tank on empty. You who showed restraint and love by leaving me at least one word on the Jumble, even when you knew all the answers. You who taught me the fine art of the atlas. You who showed the boys how things worked, making repairs on them easier. You who always saw the beauty in a newborn white-faced calf.

You who found no job beneath you at the plant. You who sat through every play our children performed. You who lived “around” my knick-knacks, but did hide a few that were intolerable. You who no matter what I gave you to eat complimented it and my efforts. You who fought for the boys’ rights to the sanctity and privacy of their own rooms. You who scraped my car windshield. You who told me to send the boys a check for a major need they had. You who cleaned the frogs out of the pool skimmer because I was afraid of them. You who never came to bed on time, but made waking up a joy finding you there next to me. You who shared with my widowed mother the only bonus you ever got at work. You who would start or unload the dishwasher and let me read after dinner.

You who always thought things through and helped tame my impetuous nature. You who was known by your coworkers as a dependable peer and a fair boss. You who wore both sons’ Eagle Scout Award pins on your suit lapel. You who raked the yard after mowing because you knew that was what I wanted. You who never stuck your finger through the bottom of the candy pieces in the Russell Stover box to see what kind each was. You whose hands could soothe all our hurts.

“Who, me?” you ask.

Yes, you—who made my two greatest dreams come true, making me your wife and a mother. Thirty blessed years later, yes, you.

Andy Skidmore

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