In April, my nana will have been gone for four years. Yesterday, she would have turned 79. My family shared our love for her as everyone does in today’s day and age: on Facebook. My mother’s family is spread down the east coast; from New Jersey to Virginia to Florida, we’ve got the coast covered. Using Facebook, we share videos and pictures and updates on the weather (the Floridians love to rub it in the Jersey folks’ faces). Yesterday, however, we “celebrated” Nana’s birthday together. My grandfather wrote, “To my wife, Marge, happy birthday in Heaven. I miss you every day.” At an unexpected moment, it hit me: I need to marry someone who I know will love me long after I’m gone.
My grandparents met many, many years ago when they were teenagers. Nana played Bingo with her mother at the local church, and Grandpa volunteered there. He asked my nana on date after date after date, and she refused each time. She didn’t want a boyfriend, and she certainly didn’t want it to be him. My great-grandmother spoke up. “You know who’s a nice boy,” she asked. “That Al!” And Nana gagged. That summer, Grandpa spent a couple weeks at the Jersey Shore, and Nana–as much as she hated to admit–missed him.
And the rest is history.
There was never a time when we walked around Disney, into the movie theater, or into a restaurant when my grandfather didn’t hold her hand. He helped her in and out of the car; he brought her a new beer whenever she neared the end of one; he made her laugh when she was mad. He was a loving, doting, patient husband. He was the husband I expect to marry.
I don’t need a knight in shining armor who dotes on me hand and foot, but I do need a man who respects me and cares for me. I expect the same treatment I dish out and dream of a man like my grandfather.
My future husband should be loyal, kind, funny, smart, and willing to put his family first. My grandfather set a pretty high bar for my future husband, and I can guarantee I won’t stop searching until I find him.