Several years ago, I was watching a television show in which one of the character’s (a quiet, soft-spoken book store owner) secret obsession with Star Trek was uncovered by the mother of the Trekkie’s potential baby-sitter.
When the girl’s mother merely stared in silence following the discovery (as the studio audience chuckled), the book store owner said, “My husband and I are really very nice people, I promise! We just happen to like dressing up as Romulans once a year.”
That struck me funny then and it still does now. Possibly because, within the ANR community, there is a lot of relevance in the book store owner’s statement…the need to keep a secret due to the fear of judgment, criticism, and rejection. If you practice a lifestyle as extraordinarily out of the ordinary such as ANR, you realize that acceptance can often be very difficult to find because so many people have misconceived notions about “who” these nursing adults are. (Even Clark Kent was forced to hide inside a phone booth to change into his super-identity before soaring over Metropolis to save the day…can you imagine how difficult it was to keep THAT secret?)
As time goes on and I’ve had the privilege of speaking to other adult nursing couples within the ANR community, I’m starting to believe that we aren’t such a rare breed after all! We are everywhere. We have a kinship. And although our journeys are very personal and very unique, we all share the same secret.
So, who are we, these strange and fabulous creatures that have piqued your fascination?
We are professionals…teachers, doctors, lawyers, and real estate brokers…we are blue-collar and white-collar…we live in small towns and big cities…we are husbands and wives, mothers and fathers. We are human.
As you probably know by now, I am blissfully married to my husband S and together we are the parents of three precious children.
I see myself as a perfectly imperfect person. I am sometimes tired and frustrated. I get angry (especially when the sock goblins steal laundry out of my dryer). I cry.
I love to knit and read. I enjoy making candles for our home and hair bows for my daughter to wear.
I bake homemade cookies and wash A LOT (and I mean A LOT!) of dishes. I grow my own vegetables (as a matter of fact, I spent last Wednesday pre-planting and preparing my seedlings for spring transplant) and spend long hours tending to my flower beds and herb gardens.
I play games with my children (including one called Zombie Vacuum–don’t ask! It’s almost more difficult to explain and understand than the nursing relationship I share with S), build snowmen with them in the winter and take them to the park in the spring.
I love the beach, the way the sky turns pink and gold and fiery-orange as the sun rises and sets over the glimmering, light-dappled water, the smell of salt spray, the rush of the ocean as white-capped waves crash against the shore.
I am the mender of boo-boos and the stitcher of injured stuffed animals, the packer of brown bag lunches and the finder of lost shoes.
I enjoy morning coffee, good conversation, laughter, and sunshine.
I am real. I am human.
And at night I take my husband into my arms and hold him to my breast.
And all of that real, that human, that mundane fades into a surreal and blissful state of euphoria, and I am reminded again of how wonderful it is to be a woman–a woman who is in love, a woman who is loved.
As for S? I’m sure he won’t mind if I tell you a little more about him while keeping his secret identity private (there’s that Superman reference again).
Throughout the entirety of our life together, he has only had two jobs–and both require the wearing of a uniform. He is the sort of man you would admire if you had the opportunity to meet him. He is serious (but has an off-beat sense of humor that makes me laugh), quiet, contemplative, firm and fair.
He likes chicken wings. He is an excellent swimmer.
He is a hard worker who does his best to provide well for his family. He is secure enough in his masculinity to tell me how much he loves me and to enjoy a fabulous tea party with our daughter.
He is kind, but strong, a passionate realist. He plays basketball with our sons and hugs them without shame.
He is every man with feet of clay and a constitution of stone.
And at night he comes to me and lies easily in my arms and rests his weary head against my breasts and draws his sustenance and strength from their tips.
I love him.
And there you have it…there seems to be little more to say. Although I can’t speak for other members in the ANR community, I can speak for S…and for myself.
And this is the story of us.