Irish Freedom Fighter Michael Collins was known colloquially as “Big Fella”. There’s even a song about it. He, along with Eamon De Valera* is one of my Historical Admired Gents. I realise I’m a bit more than a week late for waxing loving about sons of Eire, but since this is my week of writing about things I love, I guess Mick and Val fit here as well as any other place.
Every time I hear folks refer to Collins as ‘Big Fella’, it reminds me of someone else I love even more.
My husband is built like a tree. At 6’2″ he towers over me in a pleasing way. He’s solidly strapped with muscle from years of hard work in construction, dishrooms, and his beloved bicycling.** He can fit two of my freakishly small hands in one of his large ones. He’s descended from the giants who themselves descended from the Scottish highlands to fish in the icy brine off the Yorkshire coast. They built special boats for the purpose, and then started calling themselves after the watercraft. When the sea proved too harsh, they moved inland and grew crops; eventually they moved to America where they did the same.
My husband carries these legacies–farming and building–deep in his blood. It’s obvious in the gentleness and diligence he displays. Those overlarge hands can dig a hole the size of three graves to fix our sewer line and then turn to patient precision for the exacting craftsmanship of wheelbuilding and stained glass work. Somewhere in the soup of his self lingers a gene or two from a pythagorean monk that shows itself in his love of mathematics as an artform. His first self-designed stained glass piece was a Golden Rectangle with its distinctive spiral. The rest of our house is laid out with a mathematical precision and detailed attention to ratios and placement. It takes a patience that I lack, but the results are magnificent.
I don’t know for sure which gene has programmed him to love me, but I am grateful. Because I am truly and deeply loved by him, and he expresses that love in a thousand ways, each of which makes me strive to be the person who is deserving of such devotion. When I tell people that I am in a Complementarian Marriage they often have trouble reconciling that with my feminism. I don’t at all; I chose a man and chose to be his submissive partner. In return he loves me with an unconditional and sacrificial love. A love I return to him. It’s a delicate dance for two strong-willed people, but it works.
Out of all the things in this world that I love, he is mine alone. Unlike books and dogs and sodapop other people don’t get to experience the specific love that we have; they don’t get to see inside the quiet intimacy of these two souls who have been merging for twenty-three years. Part of me regrets that simply because I want to be able to show people what love is like when it’s not just about sex or selfishness or infatuation or the other me-first versions of love that the world sells us all. But a bigger part of me is just grateful to have found this one rare treasure and this one wonderful person who makes it all possible.
*I’m a bit freaked out to finally make the connection I’ve been trying to make for years. Every time I see him I know my Rheumatologist reminds me of someone, but I can never place it. In linking up this article I realised finally that Dr. Gore looks like a famous photo of De Valera. Whew.
**(Yet another thing we were into before the hipsters.)