Well, I say it was charming. To be honest, sometimes his storytelling would frustrate me. I would ask a question, expecting a simple, straightforward answer. I suppose it's the journalist in me. I like an inverted pyramid style -- most important information at the top with details of lesser importance at the bottom. An editor can chop off the bottom three inches if necessary.
Steve was more of a wandering narrative kind of a guy. He'd eventually get to the answer, but he'd make a few detours first.
I would sometimes tell Steve, "Please just answer the question!"
When he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, I reconsidered this habit (his wandering, my impatience) and a few others. Our time was limited. I soaked up every tiny detail in his circuitous tales -- because I didn't know how many more I'd get to hear.
When he snored, I stopped sighing in frustration and nudging him to turn to his side. I was painfully aware that I didn't know how many more nights I'd get to hear him snore. Instead, I would lie next to him and hold his hand or rest my hand on his fuzzy head and pray for many more nights of snoring.
This week I made a huge connection: Cooper tells stories the exact same way as his Daddy. I'll ask "What did you buy for lunch?" and he'll tell me first about what happened at recess, which may have affected what happened at the cafeteria table. I'll get snippets of conversation. And then, finally, he'll list his dessert, drink, sides and entree. (Dessert always comes first.)
I am working to maintain that patience I developed with Steve. I am savoring the details, thankful that our getting-close-to-10-year-old son is willing to share so much of his day with me. And thankful that he inherited such a sincerely charming trait from his Daddy.
Steve holds toddler Cooper on his shoulders, circa 2003. (It's worth clicking on the photo to enlarge it to see the joy on Cooper's face.)
I found this photo tonight and had to share it. Steve gets his tie cut off at Trail Dust Steak House in Aubrey, at Will and Holly's wedding rehearsal dinner, December 1994.