Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'm Skip's Wife

Quick update: Skip is truly now into the long, slow recovery phase. Truly, the crisis has passed. Phew! Yesterday, 6 different friends stopped by for a visit with Skip during the afternoon, which was very welcome. We've been getting a lot of love and care through emails, calls and this blog, but there's nothing like a hug with real arms and a chance to be surrounded by friends in the flesh to make you feel loved and supported.

In September, I wrote this piece "Do We Have to Get Divorced?" because I'd found out that the premium for state-sponsored health care was huge if my income was factored in but zero or close to it if only Skip's income was used. For disabled people with this coverage, 40 hours a week of home health aides is included, which made the coverage very attractive, though not so much at the married premium. Since we were doing okay at the time with the amount of aide support we had (the intrepid MW), I left things as they were and we remained married.

With Skip's stay in the hospital, I am so glad we did. I know we'd be treated with respect as a couple even if our status was "partners." However, it is wonderful knowing that I am legally afforded the status of next of kin in the healthcare setting. And, it gives me a thrill every time I introduce myself to yet another nurse, aide or doctor as Skip's "wife." I feel I'm doing my part to help the heterosexual world grow accustomed to knowing people who have now entered into a same-sex legal marriage here in Massachusetts.

As an aside, I had a cup of coffee and a chat in the hospital cafe with one couple who had stopped by to visit with Skip. They, too, are married. We got into a brief conversation about the terms we use to describe ourselves in relation to our spouse. They use "spouse" because to them, the term "wife" carries with it lots of negative connotations because of the historical (and current) subservient relationship many wives have to their husbands. I said I use "wife" most of the time because, in its purest sense, wife is the term given to a female person in a marriage. Calling myself a wife is also a way for me to "take back" some of the bad connotation and restore it to its purest meaning. This is similar to how I feel about words like "fat." For many large people, they shy away from the term fat because it's so loaded with bad meaning. For me, I describe myself as fat purely as a descriptive term, rather than always use some kind of euphemism like "large" or "full-figured." [end soapbox]

I'll be off soon for the first of two visits to see my Skip today. Looking forward so much to seeing her.


Anonymous said...

Hi Cranky! I just caught up on what's been happening in your life this week. I'm so glad the surgery was a success, although I feel for Skip...recovery can be really hard. I hope she heals well and quickly. I can't imagine being away from the pups!

I love that you use the term wife, because of the reasons you wrote. It's true that there are such bad stereotypes, and I don't understand why people furrow their brows at the word wife, and fat for that matter. Yeah, full-figured, whatever! Our society has a way of changing words to mask the obvious, good for you!
I hope you have a wonderful week!

Herrad said...

Hi Cranky,
Glad Skip is now starting to recover.
Please give her a big hug from me and lots of love.
Big hug to you too.
ps thinking of you

zoomdoggies said...

I'm so glad to hear this, Cranky. I hope Skip's recovery is uneventful, and that she is home soon.

Scarecrow and I have a similar problem referring to each other. We've been together... holy moly, it'll be 22 years in January... and we have a daughter, but we're not married. Boyfriend/girlfriend? Please, we're in our 50s. Spouse? Kind of implies marriage, doesn't it? Partner-in-life? To new-agey. I usually settle for partner, which I guess suggests 'he' is a 'her', but that's OK. Whose business is it, anyway? So, if you can say wife, go for it!

Cranky said...

Rain - it's so true how we take perfectly good words and then load them up with all sorts of additional connotations. That's why I like to try to "take them back."

Herrad - your support is so appreciated. Thanks!

Doggies - I see that you, too, have relationship naming challenges. We need a new word altogether!