I have so many women friends in my life (both web & IRL) that have been incredibly supportive. I sometimes sit in wonder at the outpouring of encouragement and love that I receive on a daily basis from amazing women in my life.
This post isn't about them.
This post is about men. Men!
Men by nature are our protectors. Now, don't get all ERA on me - I'm a pretty progressive woman. I kept my own last name when I married. I walked my own self down the aisle. I can hold my own.
But by nature, men are protectors. Problem solvers. The one man in my life that is supposed to protect me, isn't. And it's if by instinct, all the other men are stepping up.
I remember when this first all happened. I was at a birthday party for a friend's daughter. At Chucky Cheese. It was all I could do to get out of the house. Her husband, while I'm sure he knew, greeted me and talked to me like normal. It's nice to pretend I'm normal for a bit. Once the cake made an appearance and the song had been sung, I bade the party farewell. Almost to the front door, her husband approached me. He looked me in the eyes and said with sincerity, "I'm so sorry you are having to go through this. Let me know if we can help." And then he hugged me hard. I wasn't expecting that.
A co-worker recently asked me about my roommate and I teared up. He looked confused and I croaked out, barely audibly, "He's not at home anymore." Uncomfortable, he replied that we didn't have to talk about that. Later that night an e-mail arrived that read, "It's none of my business, but I wanted you to know that I care. And I'm here for you if you need anything."
Of course we all remember Coach Swimmfer sending her husband over to rescue me when the tree man didn't show up. He arrived, dressed in steel toed boots, chainsaw in hand, ready to help.
When I lamented that I really didn't want to budget for our lawn service and that our lawn mower wasn't working, another male friend just showed up one evening, picked it up and returned it in like new order. Complete with a "job aid" on how to maintain my mower.
Who does that?
They might not all be huggers. They don't leave greeting cards. They might not want to listen to me while I cry. But they would do anything to be able to stop my tears. Tackle any project to lighten my burden. Even just for a while.
It might be a former coach who put his arm around me and gently scolded, "You've got to promise me you'll stop losing weight, okay? And promise you'll take it easy on the running. Don't over do it. For me."
It's the blogger I've never met who e-mailed to check on me when I hadn't posted in a while. Words of encouragement from across the country. Assurance that it will get better.
It's the texts and Facebook messages from his friends. Just checking on me to see if I need anything.
It's the side hug from my mechanic when I get my oil changed. Because he knows. It's the pest control man coming during his lunch hour when he realizes which house it is, proclaiming, "I don't need a lunch break!" It's the AT&T guy who, when I went to set up my own cell phone plan, let me keep my unlimited data and my upgrade, just so I would stop crying.
They all want to fix it. They want to make it better. Even if it's only for a bit.
And I can't tell you how much I appreciate that.
To all the men in my life. Thank you for coming to my aid for the things I can't yet handle on my own. Thank you for being strong for me; for trying to protect me. Thank you for being an example of a good man.