Today Joe finished the new fence around the front of our yard, the fence that he started on the sneak on Valentine's Day. I was away at yoga all day, and when I came home that night, lo and behold my sneaky spouse had begun the first panel of the long-planned fence. Every spare moment since that weekend he has been out there making that fence, delighting particularly in working on it while I'm gone or when I'm not expecting it so that he can surprise me.
The fence project has been such a glory, such a pleasure. It's beautiful, of course, and represents hours of Joe's love and creativity and attention. And I know that although he does it for us, really he's doing it for me, delighting in adding elements that he knows I'll love, every board a loving touch.
And that's really something, knowing that what he does, he does so much for me. But it gets bigger.
For us the fence celebrates Joe's triumphant return, a spring like none other, made so much brighter after the nightmare winter darkness of cancer. Just as he used to -- but we forgot he was like this, cancer erasing what "normal" feels like -- Joe is up and at it from the moment it's light enough to see to the moment it's too dark to operate tools, clearing and beautifying and making this place where we live a paradise, a temple of love. In every room and in every corner of the yard, there is something that Joe has made. We are living inside our very own Taj Mahal.
Every time I look at the fence, I remember something Laurent said to Joe, when Laurent was very young -- "Dad, you're the bestest maker." I still say it, because really, truly, he is. Yes, we may now the nicest front yard on the block, but honestly that's nothing compared to what I see when I look at it: a life and love that just keep getting bigger and stronger and better, 20 1/2 years in.