Hey, who turned the lights out? Man, I used to be able to find my way around here in all the dark that was written. Not anymore. I didn’t note fifteenkey’s anniversary this year, but I did celebrate Megan’s 24th. These days I leave most of my thoughts on the (work)blog and Facebook. Still, there are some things too personal for work, and too long for Facebook, so here I am.

This week someone posed the question, “What is it that you love about Joyce?” My emotional knees buckled at the nasty curveball, when I was looking fastball all the way. In that situation, often the best a hitter can do is just reflexively foul off the pitch, and through the experience, be better prepared for the next. This is the next.

This week I visited my mom for lunch and a catch up on life. During one subject segment, Mom said, “They don’t sound like Christian’s to me.” I replied very plainly, “Mom, it’s got nothing to do with being Christian. It has to do with their humanity… being decent human beings.” I added, “Don’t get me going on how the name of God has been used to justify so much wrong in this world. Many people of faith ‘walk the talk.’ Some do not. They justify their wrongs by holding up their hands innocently and proclaiming, ‘we’re all sinners.’” Yes, we are.

As I write this, Joyce is methodically executing a well-worn path (she’d call it a plan) to celebrate Palm Sunday with her extended family, and me. It is an incredible amount of work to rock a gig like she will on Sunday. There is organizing, housecleaning, rearranging, ironing tablecloths, $hopping, baking, cutting fruit, making about a dozen quiche’s with her beloved cousin, Claudia, and her favorite part, calling everyone in her family to extend the invitation. That’s why she does it. For everyone else, and mostly for her mom. Palm Sunday at Joyce’s house is the social event of the year for Mrs. G.

Palm Sunday is just one week of doing for others for my girl. Of course, there’s the 52 she works as a “Human Resources” professional, emphasis on the human. In many ways, that makes her the in-house sister, mom, friend, shrink, and she’s amazing at it. Oh, then there’s the charity work. On Thursday night we attended the United Way’s Community Celebration where she was nominated for Employee Campaign Manager of the Year. Yeah, but that’s just one charitable thing she does. Last week was a bake sale to raise money, on April 1 will be a (Fun)raiser for Red Sox opening day. It goes on all year.

Then there are Joyce’s friends. There are many, and most of them I believe are true “friends,” not mere acquaintances. She constantly stays in touch, and is a supportive friend. They know she cares. It’s not unusual for us to be strolling shops in Falmouth in July, when she says, “oh, wouldn’t this be perfect for Suzanne?” Or Stella, Lou, Christine, Bob, Rosie, Tom, Eddie, Brenda… our dear friend and neighbor, Nancy. She is always thinking of and supporting her friends. It also helps her satisfy her shopping addiction. Hey, she’s stimulating the economy. I didn’t say she was perfect…

My baby is an Italian girl from an Italian family. She’s the sister I always wished was in the Gonnella family, and she is a wonderful sister and daughter to her bro and mom. She knows what they need and what they don’t, and meets those needs with love. Speaking of mom’s, she is one, and young Mr. Leger is lucky to have her. Now again, I didn’t say she was perfect, and having a mom of my own whom I love dearly, but can make me crazy, I’ll use dialogue from the film Manhattan:

Isaac – “Yeah, I have a kid. He’s being raised by two women.”
Mary – “Two mothers are absolutely fine.”
Isaac – “I always feel very few people survive one mother.”

With all the people she loves and supports and helps, there’s no one more important to her than her son, and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Baby, I’m amazed at how much you do, and how much of it is for people. Last night after a long day of party prep and exhausting yoga, she shopped some more, came home, showered, then baked about ten dozen cookies while entertaining me. Well, she poured me a glass of wine, and gave me 2 unfrosted cookies, but I was really into my book. All I needed was to be there with her.

So, “What is it that you love about Joyce?” I’m still not sure words can adequately answer the question. What else? She can be really goofy, and her in a swim cap, or any hat for that matter, is a sight. She’s one of those “Sweet Caroline” singers at Fenway. I love the way her right hand sweeps across her neck as she sleeps on her side. I love the way she rides her bike. She reminds me of… Oh, wait. I won’t go there. There are so many other things I love about her, but many are intangibles, and some are none of your business. I can wrap it all up and say I love her humanity. I love who she is as a human being. I love her work ethic and her human ethic. And her face. I love that face.

So, yeah. There it is. I hope I got a little more wood on that curveball this swing.