There's a few reasons. One: What woman could deny a man who could bleed like that for her? Two: It perhaps reminds me of my own dark Irishman, and the blood he's shed with a smile.
Sean is the strongest man I know. And not for the reasons one might think.
Oh, certainly, he'll trap a mouse, do the taxes, check out the noises in the night- all the 'scary' things that husbands often do...In fact, I remember one weekend, before we were actually together.... A group of us had gone to NYC during the run of Rent; it was when you could camp outside the Nederlander overnight, and in the morning get the seats in the first 2 rows for $20. (We were teenagers, and we thought it was the best thing ever:). It was late, and NYC can get a bit 'live' in the wee hours; also, we were all freezing and tired, and some shady-looking guys started hovering near our little group. Sean stood up, walked over and just began chatting with them pleasantly. They eventually walked on, without a fuss. One of the girls came over and pulled me into her blanket, shivering. "I'm so glad Sean's here", she said. "I just always feel better when he's around, you know? Safer." The other girls nodded soberly. I remember laughing a bit, but then looking over at him....He was casually checking on those asleep, watching both ends of the street for trouble, and letting the girls take turns huddling in his parka. Our strong sentinel.
But I was to find- his bravery ran much deeper than that.
In a man, the ultimate bravery is to be vulnerable- and to be confident enough to be so openly. To allow his insecurities, his most secret dreams, his fears, to be known ....to put himself in a position to be scorned, mocked... disdained. It's not a stance our society often celebrates. But for me, it's one of the sexiest things he can do.
Longer ago than I will ever admit in this blog, Sean pronounced the line that won my heart then, and charms it now: "Just so I'm clear...I'm basically throwing myself at you, RIGHT. NOW." That's the kind of chutzpah that I could not dismiss.
That same year, with the same unabashed enthusiasm, this is the man who memorized and recited to me the first poem of mine that had ever been published, as a surprise for me on my birthday. The same man who later that summer, after an evening out, steadied a tipsy VK and took her hands to say, "Wait, don't go to sleep yet...what would you say, if I said, 'I love you'?" And of course, the same man who re-wrote the lyrics to one of my songs, made it into a proposal, and knelt down to sing it to me (Sean does not sing:) one chilly October night.
These things would be enough. But the fact that he bared his soul so emphatically to a girl who was nicknamed "The Ice Queen" before he came along....well, he took it up a 'whole. nother. level.'
He tamed the tundra- and created a tropical beach.
It sounds cliche, but he made me laugh- because he didn't mind being laughed at. He made me smile- because he smiled all the time. He made me believe in myself, because when it came to me- there wasn't a doubt in his mind.
These last years, he's been secure enough to take a backseat during the times when his 'rockstar wife', as he calls her, has gotten the spotlight. Brave enough to send her, and all their money, to Scandinavia alone to record a CD. Strong enough to turn down the pretty casting director who asked him out during his audition, and tell her about his happy marriage. (He got the role anyway.)
William Wallace has nothing on him.
Happy Anniversary, my love. Thank you for braving the 'calendar chaos'.
Next year in Erin.