Nothin’ Says Lovin’ Like Ink

I think it’s about time you were introduced to my husband.

His name is Lloyd, he’s the bureau chief for the New York Times Regional Newspapers and he’s pretty quiet and self-contained. A sphinx, you might say.

Lloyd fancies himself a contrarian. Last spring, he decided to initiate a diet and exercise program during the legislative session, his busiest, most high-stress time of the year. A recipe for failure? No, he lost 40 pounds.

At 54, he’s right on schedule for having some mid-life issues. But unlike some of the sad stories of infidelity and divorce we’ve been hearing about within our peer group, Lloyd made up his mind to be a better husband … and if there were any torrid affairs to be had, they were going to be with his wife.

It took me awhile to realize what he was up to. We have his-and-hers CPAP machines we use nightly that have water reservoirs. (For the uninitiated, CPAPs are machines that blow air up your nose to treat sleep apnea.) He would empty out his water reservoir every morning and then, without prompting, he began to empty mine too. I appreciated it. Then, he would tell me to meet him after work on Fridays for drinks, dinner and conversation. I was intrigued. Lloyd doesn’t like to go out and eat. This, he was doing for me. I was amazed.

But his good-husband campaign reached its zenith last October for our 27th anniversary. He sent roses, took me out to dinner, wrote me a sweet and loving letter (something I hadn’t gotten from him since we were engaged) … and had my name tattooed on his arm.

I was flabbergasted.

Dinner, flowers and love notes are all within the realm of possibility as anniversary gifts … but a tattoo? Never, ever did I expect that. I laughed. And then I got a little serious and realized that there was probably no better way for my husband to let me know that he was in it for the long haul with me than to get my name permanently inscribed on himself. It was a sweet and loving gesture that I appreciate more than words can express.

The tattoo is up near his shoulder and would hardly ever be visible. So I thought he was doing this as something of an “our little secret” thing. Remember, he’s a pretty private person. But no. For this, he was happy to let me tell whomever I wanted and, at one dinner party of disbelieving friends, he stripped down to his T-shirt so they could take a gander. I was even instructed to share the not-so-secret with our mothers! (I wasn’t so sure what the reaction from them would be. Surprisingly, both laughed.)

And now Valentine’s Day is upon us. I’m hard-pressed to know what surprise I can conjure up for him that’s going to top that tat. And a little frightened of what he might have in store for me.

But I guess that’s part of the adventure. I hope your New Year is starting out on a high note and that you’ll feel as loved as I do on Valentine’s Day.

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