Thursday, October 18, 2012

Leah Runs, Bikes, Swims and Tackles…Paul

Leah Runs, Bikes, Swims and Tackles…Paul

In seeking a man, many girls dream of taming the stallion, capturing the wild mustang or even sitting quietly in the woods to await the elusive unicorn who will come and rest on her lap…enslaved forever by love.

Not Leah though. Her life was very full already…active, fun and social. A prominent professor of dental hygene, Leah is invited all over the world to lecture. She bikes, hikes, exercises, competes in triathlons and laughs and laughs. She exudes the kind of fun that makes you feel more fun too, just for talking to her. Leah had it all going on…then she met Paul.

When they met, Paul was 36 and had, up until that point avoided the gossamer bonds of love and matrimony. He was not opposed, but he also wasn’t going to settle. He had standards and (though I told him on many occasions not to) Paul went shopping with a list…for a woman. Great body, athletic, active, similar tastes in music and of course the sophisticated sense of humor that would find Paul’s brand of wit hysterically funny.

My husband and I knew Paul for years before we met Leah, so after you check out his portrait below, I’ll paint a picture of Paul…with words.

Paul is the Best Man

Paul is my husband’s best friend and had been since they had their third grade rumble at Millbury Center School in 1972. Two mighty 8 year old opponents decided it would be better to join forces and make peace. They became fast friends for life. Together they downed their first bottle of 151 Rum at 14 only to have it return with a vengeance for days to come. Their shared teen experiences became source material for a lifetime of private jokes, catch phrases, keen observations and a sly sideways way of seeing life where nothing is too sacred or in too poor taste to have fun with.

Paul is the guy that dresses up as a free mammogram machine for Halloween. (Picture a cardboard box with his face peering out through extra large exam holes). This year he's looking for the bottom half of a mannequin torso for his Halloween costume…can't even imagine what he's cooking up. Paul is the guy who can lose his lunch, dinner and drinks at his bachelor party and have room for a 4 egg farmer’s breakfast the next morning. Paul takes a long nap after work and then goes to work out for two hours. Paul religiously watches football all day Sunday during the season.  These are his ways, and they are set. And this is just what I can mention here…trust me, there’s more.

Don’t get me wrong, we love Paul. He was the best man in our wedding. I think of him as the brother I never had and, he and my husband Scott crack up laughing like he does with no one else. Their shared history and humor are absolutely priceless and as I’ve known Paul for the past 25 years, their humor has become my history and I actually “get” it now and I laugh too…I like to think I’ve added to the history as well.

Over the years, Scott, Paul and I have taken many vacations together and every time we’d visit Massachusetts to get together, there were stories of women…but no women to actually meet. They were more fun to talk about than to be with I suppose.

Then came Leah. On one of our visits, Paul had told us he’d be bringing a date.  Of course, I got all excited, hoping maybe she’d be “the one”. I always had a sisterly view of Paul and really wanted to see him paired up. Not that marriage is the answer for everyone, but for a man it’s a no-brainer…it’s the woman who makes all the concessions! (Now we’ll see if there are any men actually reading my blog)

Leah by far exceeded our expectations…a hundredfold. When we met her it was like we were being introduced to sunshine. Her laugh, her sense of humor and her contagious joy were a delight, and it was obvious Paul was crazy about her…like I’d never seen him crazy about any of the few women we had met over the past 10 years. And she had this wonderful accepting way to be with him. She totally went along and “got” the bizarre humor without needing to jump in and own it. And she did this all very subconsciously. Her joy took over and there was no insecurity at not getting the joke…she “got” Paul and she was very distinctly herself and that was plenty.

A couple years later at their wedding, her vows included the words, “I don’t need you, I choose you”. Those really stuck with me and I think it laid a strong foundation for taming the proverbial stallion that is Paul.

Over the years, as life, age and time have put obstacles in their path, Paul and Leah have weathered storms beautifully. And Paul has proved to be an incredibly domestic, caring and loving husband (ask him about his shed, their remodeling and his meticulous landscaping). They enjoy each other immensely and even when Lyme’s disease and surgeries have made an incredibly self-sufficient and active Leah need to rely on the kindness and service of Paul, he has come through. Paul even washed and styled Leah’s hair for weeks after her rotator cuff surgery.

And whenever we see them, their love and humor and craziness for each other just spills out all over the room. Leah has tamed the stallion, kept her own identity very much intact and continues to lead a life of independence and laughter, only now with the added joy of love.

Paul may have taught her about football, but Leah got the touchdown all on her own.