This is a guest post written by my husband Corey Shaw (known as The Forgetful Dad)
I am probably breaching man territory here with this confession, and I am most likely going to get my ass kicked for it because let’s face it, us guys don’t normally come out and admit our hearts emotions. But I’m diving in head first, and I’m here to say — I admit it, my wife is my best friend.
I met Jodi while surfing the Internet. Yeah, I was looking for girls. I’m not going to lie, I wanted a relationship and traditional dating (going to bars and clubs) just wasn’t my scene. I was tired of dating women with screwed up personalities and so much baggage not even an airline would accommodate them without charging and over-bag fee (sorry ladies).
I guess I just wanted a woman I could talk to. One that would accept me for who I am. Because you see, I had a secret. One that I was terrified to share because no matter how honest I was, it always seemed to backfire on me.
I am a traumatic brain injury survivor.
For those of you who don’t know what a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) is, it meant that when dating I did not have the appealing qualities a woman looks for in a long term relationship, such as money, stability, a chance at remembering their birthday.
I was never going to have a steady job. I was never going to make enough money for a woman to feel satisfied or comfortable. Shit, I could barely take care of myself, let alone someone else. This meant I was throwing a big monkey wrench into the dating pool, especially when I had a the memory of a teetsy fly.
Now, I know most of you women are saying “But men forget everything anyhow” and they are right. Don’t even try to deny it guys. We do.
For me though, my memory was like a badge of black paint washed all over my body so that nobody could see or understand who I truly was. You could tell me something and less than five minutes later, I would forget what you said. And each night I go to sleep, I begin the next day with the slate clean.
No woman was going to want that.
Then I saw her picture.
Jodi was a member of “Match.com” when I saw her photo, and what can I say? I was instantly in love. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true. All I remember was that I had to meet her, and since guys had to pay for information for potential matches. I had to wait until my payday to get her email. Totally not (stalkerish) at all.
We started chatting on MSN. Remember when Microsoft had chat rooms? We talked back and forth for a month and bit, until I finally got up the courage to ask her for a date. The goal was to meet at Starbucks. I had just gotten back from visiting my parents in PG and I couldn’t wait to see her.
Okay, not so macho, but it’s the truth. I knew that I wanted to marry Jodi the minute I saw her. I can’t explain it. I know it sounds crazy. There was just this ease about her. The way she smiled, so sheepishly. Her bright green eyes sparkled with emotion. There was something — different about her. Jodi wore her heart on her sleeve and spoke her mind. I loved that about her.
I still do.
Jodi was like a breath of fresh air. She wasn’t rude, just straight to the point. She pulled “no punches” when talking to me. A great communicator, which is what I wanted.
She’s one of the strongest women I’ve ever known.
A single mother, she had raised her young son after dealing with an abusive ex on her own. She got out and she had been through hell and back in her life, and yet she found it easy to laugh at things.
Man, I could listen to her laugh forever.
She also didn’t judge me.
When she found out about my brain injury, she did research into it. She put in time and effort to gain an understanding of what it be like to be with someone like me. Someone who could not only not provide for her financially in the future but who went to bed every single night and woke up forgetting what happened the day before.
She wasn’t without her baggage though, you know the kind I wanted to avoid. Jodi had it by the truckloads.
It’s funny though when you meet someone and truly care about them, you want to take those bags, lighten their load. Jodi’s ex-was a piece of work. Not good for either her or her son. I say “our son” now because I’ve been in Jake’s life since he was four years old, and that boy is “mine” maybe not by blood but by heart.
“You know she’s bipolar right? She’s crazy. She yells and screams. She throws tantrums. She had severe mood swings, and she will blame you for everything wrong. She’s no good. She just damaged,” Jodi’s ex, warned me the day I met him.
Now, there are two kinds of men in this world. Men who look at women as objects, things to be used and abused to make themselves feel more superior, always putting them down, breaking them emotionally and physically, and overall basically treating them like dogs.
And then there are men who want to beat the shit out of those men who do this.
I fall into the latter category, and boy am I glad I listened to my heart and not my head when came to marrying Jodi because she truly became one of the best people I have ever known.
My wife is a strong woman. She has pride in her for her family. She doesn’t realize her own strength sometimes. Thirteen years later and she’s still making me laugh. She tells me all the time how loved she has felt by me over the years when in truth it’s been the opposite.
Jodi is my best friend but not just because she is my wife and caregiver. It’s because she took the time to understand me the way nobody else would. And yes, she is batshit crazy and I love that about her. It’s in a good way.
No matter how much I screw up. How much I forget. Jodi understands, and all I had to do was just love her for who she is. The way she deserves to be loved. Not so hard really. She makes it easy, and for that, I will forever be grateful.