I threw a pillow at the TV, I was so mad. The “bachelorette,” from the hot reality series of the same name, was listing the things she was looking for in her future husband: smart, successful, good-looking, and athletic. All of these traits sound good for a young viewing audience, but as I lay in bed at 43 years old, bed-ridden from chemotherapy, I had a better list. The man of your dreams should be able to sit and take copious notes with a host of different surgeons and oncologists if his wife is diagnosed with cancer, manage two businesses in short notice, learn the children’s schedule and convey it to anyone willing to help out, have the strength to pick you up if you pass out cold at the first sight of your double mastectomy, have the stamina to stay up 48 hours in a row every 21 days to monitor for fevers, love you bald, bloated and without breasts, nipples or libido, be patient and kind with the craziness of menopause, and continue at all times to be a devoted father to 2 small children who are in emotional turmoil due to their mommy’s illness.
In our wedding vows 10 years ago, I described these traits in one word -- “unconditionally.” He taught me the meaning of unconditional love in the years prior to our marriage. We lived it in our battle with breast cancer. We may not be getting top ratings on a television show, but the women in our lives and our daughter know that unconditional love exists, it matters and they should look for it in the man of their dreams. I love my husband unconditionally because he showed me how it looks and feels -- and that I am worthy of it.
Mia Pate Ogletree was a career-climbing-trophy-wife in her early 30s, who left it all behind to find her authentic self. At 45, she is a mother of two extraordinary young children. She is a successful wellness coach and personal trainer. She blogs at fitchickgetssick.blogspot.com.