She is my damsel in distress, and I am her knight in shining armor! Or at least that’s how it plays out in my head. There I am…a handsome, tall, muscular, hero, rescuing the beautiful princess. In reality it’s me, all awkward, lanky, and goofy, opening a jar with a tight lid. One that Hillary really could open if she wanted to badly enough. But, I think she knows how much I love to be her hero swooping in to save her, so she calls for my help more for me than for her. Here is mostly how it goes down. As she calls across the kitchen, I hear her calls for help! I go into full Robin Hood mode on a mission to rescue Maid Marian. She asks me, “Hey Grant, can you try and open this jar?” What I hear is, “My love, I am in great distress!! Save me from this evil thing!!” I immediately leap from my chair, sending it sailing across the kitchen and rolling clear to the other side. I stand with my head up, shoulders back, chest out, proclaiming loudly, “My love is in trouble!!” At this point, Hillary is normally rolling her eyes and saying something along the lines of “Oh my goodness, you’re so crazy!” Then she laughs and hands me the jar. I do my best to make it look like an epic struggle against the jar and finally, with a mighty groan, the lid will loosen. She pats me on the chest and calls me her mighty beast and kisses my cheek before returning to her task at hand, still rolling her eyes and laughing. I retrieve my chair and return to whatever I was working on, still thinking of my beautiful princess’s kiss.
This is a fairly common scene at the Smith household. Now, I know that I am not really a strong or mighty beast, and Hillary is not a true damsel in distress who is in need of constant saving. But when Hillary calls for my help, she makes me feel like I am her hero. Although she is a strong, capable woman who most days would not need any rescuing, she knows me and knows that I need to be needed. I also know her, and that she needs to know that I am there for her when she does call for me. The theatrics are all for fun and drama, and the kiss at the end.
Sometimes I tell these little funny stories and one of the most common replies I hear is, “I can tell that you two are in your first year of marriage.” It makes me giggle inside, although the first time I heard it, I will admit that for a few moments, I was a little scared thinking, wait…why is this so odd? This does not feel like a newlywed thing, this just feels like us being us. I don’t want this to be temporary. I like trying to be her hero, and she likes calling for me to help and try to be her hero. So why would we stop? Then I realized…shoot, I do have a tendency of become complacent, unmotivated, maybe even lazy at times. I thought of a time before Hillary and I were even dating, and were just starting to spend more time together. We had signed up for the same half marathon (it was my first and her seventh or eighth, I think). I wanted to spend every moment I could with her, so we met and ran almost every day together. We trained for weeks and weeks, but really, I was just wanting to spend all the time I could with her. The marathon came and we ran the 13.1 miles without any walk breaks, and we both set personal best times!! Fast-forward to our first year of marriage when we signed up for the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon several months in advance. At the beginning, we had not run in quite a long time, so we decided that we were really going to crack down on our training and be disciplined and diligent. We ran great the first week, then kinda fell behind the second week, then tapered off from there. She would ask about running and I would have something else I had obligated us to do, or a whole list of other things would get in the way. Training just was not as much of a priority as it was when that was the only time I could see Hillary. The half marathon came, we drove to Indianapolis, the race started, and right away I knew I was in trouble. After mile seven, it was very clear that I had dropped the ball for us. Every mile after that was painful, and every 10 minutes required a new pep talk to keep running. We finished the race missing our two hour goal by about four minutes. After the race we both walked stiff-legged and we limped for days. That was a painful lesson that really stuck with me, and it’s so simple. If you want results, you can’t skip. Every day has to be a training day, either out running, cross training, recovery, nutrition, etc. And the same goes for me trying to be her hero. Just like our marathon training, I know I am capable of becoming complacent and with that the heroics will drift away. So, if I want to stay her hero, it has to be a daily goal of mine to look for those little things and seize the moment, instead of becoming lazy or preoccupied. If there are any guys out there reading this and this sounds a little like you, be on the lookout for that “swoop in and save the day” moment. It may be as simple as opening a jar, reaching something on the top shelf, or sweeping her off her feet and carrying her to the vehicle so she doesn’t have to “dirty her shoes” walking on the gravel driveway. Whatever it may be, have fun with it, make her your princess in the tall tower, and you her knight in shining armor.