I have had this post written in my head about my husband, Alan, for some time. I waited to write and publish it because today is his birthday and I wanted this to be, in part, a tribute to him on his birthday. We are in Park City celebrating with four other couples, all friends of Alan’s from college and their spouses. All are my friends too. Although Alan had not read my blog, because he has lived the journey with me, I plan to print this post and give it to him.
Alan and I have been married for 32 years. This time has gone by fast. Every year has been a treasure. He is an amazing partner, husband and friend, and someone whom I have been lucky to have by my side. The love, friendship and romance just grow with the years. I count ourselves lucky. We met as first year associates at our law firm, became close friends quickly, while dating other people that both of us knew were not long term. Within a few months, we could not deny the attraction between us. I resisted for a short time because I thought I did not want to get serious with anyone, but I knew he was a person with whom I would want to spend my life. I was divorced (a short, mistaken marriage in college), a lapsed Catholic and of Lebanese ancestry and had grown up in Grosse Pointe. He was Jewish, never married, and had grown up in Oak Park, on the west side of the city. He was exactly the right person for me. My family agreed, and loved him from the start. His family loved me too. I should have known it was right when we met his family for the first time at a middle eastern restaurant, which was their favorite food. Once he married me, they got home made middle eastern food. When we married, our firm had a nepotism policy that did not allow married couples to work at the firm. We argued over who should leave, with Alan insisting I stay because the firm was good to women. This is typical of him – always looking to make sure I am taken care of, and meaning it. In the end, we both stayed. We broke the policy, making our case to the firm why it made no sense for us. Since then there have been a few other married couples. We were the first.
Alan and I have always worked together at the same firm and sometimes worked together on the same cases. This has been fun, except when we argue over who gets the lead role. In fact, we both say that one reason neither of us ever ended up seriously exploring options to leave was because we loved working together and still do. We literally are partners in our firm. Some people tell me that they cannot imagine working at the same place as their spouse. We cannot imagine it any other way. When our kids were young, it was great to be able to have lunch dates, with just the two of us.
We are partners in the true sense as well. I cannot imagine my life without him – he is there for me in everything. He always has my back and is always at my side supporting me. As I go through cancer treatment, Alan has had to face his worst fears. He watched his mother die from cancer young, his sister suffer from Hodgkins disease when she was in college and he feared for her life during the three year she battled the cancer, and his dad had prostate cancer. I know he thought I would be the last person he would have to worry about, and yet here I am, with stage IV cancer. Alan’s reaction was to tell me he could not live without me, and I HAD to survive. I told him I would, and I meant it. He also had his worst fears come true with my chemo, when my nausea and sickness were so bad, just like he remembered when his sister went through chemo. Yet he is my rock, my support, my always partner. I am comforted just by having him around. I am excited to see him every day. I want our life together to continue. We have been so lucky in our marriage.
Alan and I started in friendship and that friendship has never wavered. I remember at our vows telling him he was my best friend. We enjoy each other, We like doing much of the same things (except shopping – he does not like except for our house). We love to travel. When we travel, we go to museums, to art galleries, to beautiful old buildings and churches, walk the streets, enjoy the food and wine, and culture. He is the reason I downhill ski. When our kids were young, he told me I had to learn because we would do it as a family. He taught me – I have often been nervous when he is taking me on a mountain where I do not know the terrain, but I love it. Because of that love of skiing, we now own a house in Park City with two other couples, where we love it both in winter and summer.
Alan is an incredibly caring person. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, although he may deny that. His worry and distress at my diagnosis was clear, and he has jumped into full protective mode as a result. It is a lovely trait. No matter what, he is there for me. I know he has worried and worried about me, but even before my diagnosis, he was the same. He is a person who takes to heart and worries about his family, and his dogs. He cares deeply and fully. I once told my daughter, look at your father, this is the kind of man you should look for with whom to spend your life. This is the kind of man you want by your side. This is the kind of man you want to be your partner. This is the kind of man you want to be the father of your children. Choose wisely. I did. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my husband, my partner, my friend. Alan, my love for you has only grown stronger over the years. To many more years together….