|She's a pretty super girl|
It's certainly a mark all of us are aware of from the time we're kids. But when Jamie was 17, she was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (or, FSGS, for you amateurs out there). I won't belabor you with the details, you can read up on it here. In short, when you get diagnosed with anything at that age, a 40th birthday becomes something to celebrate.
If you can cast your memory back to a simpler time, when Bill Clinton was still in his first term, when Ace of Base ruled the airwaves and you had to be assigned the personality of one of the cast of Friends for some reason (I was the Marcel of our gang) - a much thinner The League was wooing an Aniston-coiffed Jamie.
I was well aware of Jamie's health issues, and was doing a lot of pondering of said issues at the time. It was something to consider as we were plotting out the rest of our lives, as - I hate to tell people who write movies - it affects your life in many ways no matter how good of a song you picked to roll over the triumph-of-love sequence.
But here's the thing I was also aware of - you can never be sure. As the great philosopher, Gaff, the creepy cop played by Edward James Olmos in Blade Runner said: It's too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?
|I take all my life advice from second-tier characters in iconic sci-fi movies|
You know, you can read Gaff's comment in a lot of ways. You can say - "You know, Deckard, you never know how much time anyone has. So, grab the chance while you have it." Or, you could see it as "You know, Deckard, who really lives? The people who are aware of their time." Or, you could see it as "You know, Deckard, you're both robots with false memory implants, so you might as well commit."
And, all three of these apply.
We've been lucky. Sure, we've had some interesting times. As Jamie said to me Monday night - we kind of spent our twenties in hospitals (SXSW is for chumps when there's free Jell-o to be had), We've had a couple organ transplants, moving around of veins, multiple scares, a heart attack and one instance of honest-to-god cat scratch fever, which is way less awesome than Ted Nugent would lead you to believe.
But Jamie is also not a walking list of symptoms or exciting tales from the hospital. She's a former software engineer, she's a dog wrangler, she can play the piano and draw and carry a tune. She can cook, she reads like crazy, she has a surprisingly deep knowledge of the Justice League. As a kid she traveled a lot, she was a cheerleader and in the drill team and choir. She acted in plays and danced ballet, jazz and modern. She went to science camp.
She's incredibly close with her family, she's nursed dogs and cats and me and took care of her mother when she fell ill. She's a great sounding board, a reasoned, reasonable person and she carries herself with dignity and grace.
She puts up with me, which... people... you have no idea. I can barely put up with me, and I am required to live in the same house as where I live. At least she has options. So I appreciate her patience.
She's a kind and loyal friend. She's warm and knows when to be polite and she's secretly darkly hilarious in a way that I know people who've only met the sweet side of her are shocked to learn. She's got opinions.
I'm a fan.
|this moment of melancholy brought to you by a slightly tardy cab|
She can be silly, and isn't terribly girly. She's not afraid of a cocktail, but she turns her nose up at bourbon (I know, she's not entirely perfect).
Oh, she's also really into the Space Shuttle. No, really.
We've had our ups and downs, and certainly our life is not the color-by-numbers life you're most like to get as middle-class kids with a lot going for you. But I don't shy from talking about it, because I love Jamie and I love what she is, and I don't see any reason not to talk about that.
I have no doubt she's made me a better person. Certain members of my family (well, all of them) would likely agree. And I hope I do right by her.
As of late October of this year, we'll have been together longer in our lives than we've not. 20 years, man. End of next month, we'll count this our fifteenth year of wedded bliss.
I've been so damn lucky. We're getting to live way past our pre-programmed four year lifespan, and she's as healthy as ever. Hell, we're going to Hawaii in May (please don't rob us). If you'd asked me in 2005 if she'd be going to Hawaii, I would have punched you in the nose for the gall of your question. But an unbreakable spirit and modern medicine are a pretty great combination.
So, sometime this week when you're having a drink, raise your glass to Jamie. She's the light of my life and my Lois Lane, Wonder Woman and all the dames rolled up in one. And I love her dearly.
Happy birthday, Jamie.