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A bajillion wonders of the world for better or worse

I have often thought of the seven — or is it eight? — wonders of the world.

Sincerely, I think there are a bajillion wonders of the world. Like, how do they keep the stripes straight down at the toothpaste factory? Or why are there billions of birds and only 150 nests? Or how do fruit flies know? Or what use are ticks? It isn't their contribution to the food chain. Only turkeys, guinea hens and possums are dumb enough to eat them. They must taste awful. Or — this is the big one — what have I done to be lucky enough to be married to a happily married man?

I know there are perfectly good explanations to all but seven or eight of those wonders. But the only one I really care about is the happily married man one.

Some 39 years ago, when we got married, we promised to love each other for better or worse, which has really been hard at times — not unusual, but worth an honorable mention.

So, how do I fulfill my wedding vows? First of all, love his children. There will be no dignity in it at all. I made it my job, and tried to do the best I could by them. Eventually, 40 years later, since I didn't go away, they started to love me. (Not really 40 years, but it makes a good story.) Second, there is no second. Life just rolls on by. For better or worse.

Now that my husband's health is declining, it is a new ballgame. How can I not be cross when I have to repeat the same thing 59 times. And how do I accept the fact that he doesn't drive anymore? Or when he needs to go to the doctor and the "f" word flies? (He has always respected me enough not to cuss, until now.) Here's another one: When he has the sound on the TV turned up to 44? Drives me nuts! For better or worse.

I have reinvented myself. I call him sweetheart or honey. How can you not say sweetheart without being sweet? Or hon-ney without being sincere? It is my new job to learn to love him all over again. For better or worse.

This is a man who has accepted the fact that I am a lousy cook, which I proved after having french toast three nights in a row. And when I ran over a shopping cart in the grocery store parking lot, without using 4-wheel drive. And, when I spent $100 at the Dollar Store buying 100 of the same item. (If there is a Dollar Store Hall of Fame, I'm sure I'm in it.). He loves me anyway. For better or worse.

So, back to the bajillion wonders of the world. I wonder how it is that I am lucky enough to be married to a happily married man? I’ve decided that luck doesn't have anything to do with it. And there isn't anything I have done that makes me responsible for his happiness. It all comes out in the wash. Wonder solved. For better or worse.

Marilyn White lives in Medford.

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