Waiting on My Sargant
Part III: Waiting on My Sargant
Last week, Eunice Shriver died. Am I the only one who was completely clueless about how wonderful this lady was? She single-handedly started the Special Olympics when she held the first contest in her own back yard. She did all of this when mental retardation was considered a family dishonor. Mentally-challenged children were often kept in back rooms and treated inhumanly because people simply didn’t know better; they didn't understand the condition. Now that I know the foundation on which the Special Olympics were built, I am even angrier about the off-handed comment President Obama made on the Jay Leno Show earlier this year.
But anyway, as I listened as daughter, Maria Shriver, eulogize her mother, I couldn’t help but be fascinated with the person Maria described as Eunice’s partner in life, R. Sargant Shriver. Just like the saying goes, 'Behind every great man is a great woman', R. Sargant Shriver demonstrated that behind every great woman is a strong supportive man. Here is what Maria said about her father’s impact on her mother’s life:
When I heard Maria say those wonderful things about her father, I couldn’t help but note how rare that truly is. Many men don’t know what true devotion is. Many denounce instead of support and uplift. Many are threatened, fearful that the woman will take her success and leave him behind. There are a lot of ladies out there who are really doing it and could do it even better if they had a support system at home. My personal belief is 'When I succeed, WE succeed.' Because when you succeed, I am certainly claiming that success as my own!
When I was married, I wanted to go back to school and get my Master’s degree. My (now deceased) husband didn’t see the benefit in that; it wouldn’t guarantee more money at my job and it would keep me out of the house a couple days a week. When I wanted to apply for different position at work or at another company; he discouraged it. My husband believed that since I had a good job, I should be happy with that and just wait to be promoted through the system.
My husband was 17 years older than I and he was old-school all the way. When I cut my relaxer out of my hair and flaunted a low natural fro, my husband had a fit, even though we dicussed it beforehand. He said he couldn’t stand a ‘nappy–headed woman’. I still laugh at that one to this day! To his credit, after he got used to my curly low-cut fade, he admitted that it was very becoming on me.
The tv game show, Jeopardy, was our daily competition. My husband never went to college, but he was extremely intelligent. When he beat me in Jeopardy, he wouldn’t gloat or dance around; that wasn’t his style. But he made sure I know that he beat me and he didn’t 'even have a college degree.'
My husband and I met Christmas Eve at TG’s, which was a popular club years ago. You know I was looking hot the night we met, right? I don’t recall what I had on, but I am sure it was the standard club attire. I was 26 years old at that time and my body was something to be feared. (Don’t you just love my confidence?) No wonder he wouldn’t let me out of his sight! Well, after we got married, he wasn’t all the excited about the way I dressed. He had other ideas about what was acceptable. So, being the young girl that I was, I went along with his program; he took me shopping and bought me clothes that were more befitting ‘his wife’. I didn’t resist; it was all good. But that matronly get-up was so not me!
When I saw Maria talk about R. Sargant Shriver, I couldn’t help but acknowledge how lucky and blessed Eunice Shriver was having found and married him. Having a man who supports you, encourages you, isn’t threatened by you, isn’t angry when you challenge him, promotes you and just plain 'ole loves you for who you are is almost unheard of. Is it ok to admit that I am a little jealous?
February made six years since my husband passed away. While we loved each other very much, I can see why we had some of the stresses in our marriage that we did. While my husband was a wonderful provider and a wonderful, handsome man, R. Sargant Shriver gave me a few more characteristics to seek in a husband.
So today, I am waiting for a man who is devoted to me in every sense of the word; will marvel at everything I say and do; doesn’t mind if my hair is nappy; if I walk around with clothes that draw another man’s attention; if I beat him at Jeopardy; or challenge his ideas. Someone who will let me rip and roar and love everything about me.
What a week this has been for me! Thank you for joining me through my emotional, yet healing journey. I have declared that I have Forgiven My John, Moved Beyond My Bobby, and Waiting on My Sargant. What a week it has been indeed.
Recently a friend answered a survey and said her father was a man with a great heart because he loved her mother and was just as devoted to her after more than 50 years of marriage as he was when they first met. This brought tears to my eyes because her father is just that devoted to her mother but the unique thing about their situation is that her mother is dying and also no longer knows who any of them are. Your article reminded me of that comment and also what both my friend and I want in a relationship. We want to know that man that we are given is committed and loves us just the way we are. Delete Reply