Sunday, April 22, 2012

Twenty Years Ago Today . . .

My husband and I got married.

Twenty years! Except for the four kids, thirty pounds, and three houses later part--it doesn't seem nearly that long.

Here are twenty memories of my favorite person in the world:

1. Cleaning bathrooms. He does it better than anyone I know. So it's always his job when company is coming over.

2. Organization. Which he also does better than anyone I know. We moved cross-country to Boston eight months ago and every box has been unpacked, its contents stored appropriately, and both our garage and storage rooms are clean enough to eat in.

3. He lets me dress him up at Halloween however I want. He's been Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, Anakin from Star Wars, Henry V, the Phantom of the Opera, Spike from Buffy, Malcolm Reynolds in his sexy brown coat . . . he's such a good sport. I've got to start thinking about this year. What else goes great with black riding boots?

4. Potato chips inside his sandwiches.

5. A love of driving different ways. My gift to him this anniversary is that we don't have to drive home from Montreal tomorrow the same way we got here.

6. Patience. Of a saint. Forever and always. (With his family at least--I make no claims for those he works with.)

7. He forgets to lock doors. I'm the one who rounds the house at night to make sure everything is locked up tight.

8. When he brought the three older kids to see me in the hospital after Spencer was born, I looked at my almost 3-year-old daughter (who had a closet full of clothes) and wondered why she was wearing a stained t-shirt and leggings with holes in the knees. And realized that Organized is not the same thing as Knowing How to Dress a Little Girl.

9. If I asked him to hold the baby when he came home, that's what he did. Hold the baby. That was all he did. Since I was capable of holding the baby and talking on the phone and unloading the dishwasher at the sometime, I stopped asking him to hold the baby and made him chase the older kids around instead.

10. The time we bought our oldest son a sandbox for his 3rd birthday and Chris and my dad brought it home tied to the roof of hatchback Hyundai. He still hasn't recovered from the heckling along the way.

11. Cookies and milk.

12. Seriously, cookies and milk. In case I'm not around to plan it, will someone make sure cookies and milk are served at his funeral?

13. Two days ago, I read him a tweet from Melissa Marr about how her husband brought her breakfast in bed at noon, since she's been staying up until 6:00 a.m. to write recently. Next morning, after I stayed up late in our hotel room writing, he brought me breakfast in bed so I wouldn't have to pretend to feel bad about not getting up.

14. Wrapping my arms around him in the hug of my life in a 4th-floor corridor of Primary Children's Medical Center on January 2, 2008 just hours after Jake was diagnosed with cancer.

15. The time he hit the curb while eating ice cream.

16. Hong Kong, Seattle, Portland, Boston, Washington D.C., Kenya, New York, London, Hawaii, Mexico, China, Ireland . . . I hope we have lots more to add to this list of places we've visited and/or lived in the last twenty years.

17. That he held my hand while I knocked on the door to meet my birthmother for the first time when I was 33. Without him, I'd still be standing outside that door.

18. That he videotaped me on the phone with my agent when she told me my book was going to auction. I hate how I look and sound, but I love that he was there and wanted to capture the moment.

19. How he looks beyond fine in a suit and tie--the best kind of professional. I will leave it at that, since my children will probably read this.

20. That after twenty years, he's still here. Being married to me is no small accomplishment, my friends. In this relationship, I am the high-strung, high-intensity, high-needs half. He is the rock-solid, calm, let's remember we live in the real world half. The one who, when I'm crying over my many failures, reminds me "People aren't thinking about you nearly as much as you think they are." The one who thinks I'm beautiful in spite of the aforementioned thirty pounds. The only man in my life (other than my dad and brother) who have known me since I was 17 years old.

The last twenty years have been wonderful, horrific, painful, joyful, surprising, and Worth It. Can't wait for the next twenty (or even the next ten, when I finally shoo all those pesky four kids out of the nest--any chance they'll take those thirty pounds with them?)

"If I could choose . . . it would all be you." 

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