I watched the other day as a male cardinal flew into our bird feeder, pecked at the seed and then flew up to the branch above where his female waited, and gave it to her.
That is a hero.
He put his loved one first.
Does your hero put his loved one first — especially when he hasn’t confessed yet she’s his loved one? Does he always tell her what she doesn’t want to know (always a sure sign)?
Is he a guy who takes out the garbage without being asked, cleans the cat box, does his share of the cooking, shovels the snowed-up path to make it easier for you, makes sure you don’t trip on the curb you didn’t see, copies the NY Times crossword puzzle for you every Monday and Tuesday?
Would he do the two a.m. newborn feedings? Carry your colicky baby around for hours? Fix things like small electricals and minor plumbing? Build bookcases for your ever expanding library and not complain?
Is he a problem solver? A man of few words, a man of action? Would he search high and low for a way to repair an almost irreparably storm damaged canoe just because you love it?
Does he have your back? Has he seen you at your worst — and still loves you? Is he your best friend?
Does he listen?
Does he give you space to create?
These are all the traits of my hero, and I confess, there’s a little bit of him in every male protagonist I write (don’t tell). And he does all those small, loving things and more (except the bird part) that are much more meaningful (to me) than larger, grander gestures.
And so, reader, I married him — 46 years ago this month, and all this time later, he is still my hero, now — and forever.
Thea Devine is the author whose books defined erotic historical romance. She’s currently working on Beyond The Night, a sequel to her June 2011 release, The Darkest Heart, to be published by Pocket Star April 2013.