This is a love note to my husband, Michael. If mushy stuff about relationships grosses you out, I suggest you stop reading now. A special anniversary of ours is coming up this weekend and since I cheesily adore my husband, I just gotta talk about it. Also, since my faults are easier for me to remember than any of my attributes, this note will probably illuminate him as man of the year…
“Cut the wheel…come on, keep going…Ok, ok…stop. Stop.” Michael’s voice cut through the heavy, summer air and seemed to smack me right in the face, as I sat in the passenger seat of my friend’s car. Let’s call her C. She was desperately attempting to parallel park. He instructed her politely but his voice clearly conveyed that he was an expert driver and, of course, parallel parker. There was an unmistakable confidence in the way he spoke, but also something else. I wasn’t quite sure. I just knew I wanted more. As soon as the car was parked, I swung the door open and leaped (it felt like a leap) over to where Michael was standing.
He was C’s boyfriend’s best friend and roommate. I had run into C at the mall earlier that day. We hadn’t seen eachother in a long time and she asked me if I wanted to go out later on. It was that time of the month, I felt so bloated I could feel my stomach bulging over my jeans, and basically couldn’t have felt any less ready to party. But for some reason I said I’d love to go out.
“Michael,” he answered, much more softly than he’d been speaking before.
Back then I had said it felt like lightning, seeing Michael for the first time. And now, 12 years later, I can’t say I was embellishing. I had never felt that way upon meeting anyone before.
Later that night, a group of us went to a local bar and the girls danced as the guys hung out, too cool for dancing. Michael and I ended up talking and then somehow or another my tongue was in his mouth – err, his tongue was in my mouth? Who remembers, really. All I knew was that I wasn’t normally forward with guys, but I was throwing myself at this one.
There were moments during those first couple of years when I wondered if I had found “the one” so early in my life. Being 21 felt pretty early to me. How could it be that we were right for eachother forever? But there was something telling me that I should hold on, wait and see. I’m so glad I did. Some days, I’ve felt great frustration in the midst of an argument. Thankfully those are few and far between. Our disagreements don’t escalate to raising of voices unless it’s a big ticket item in our relationship. In those moments of intense emotion, though, I sometimes think that I will never calm down, never not be this angry. And then somehow we talk and talk and talk and work it out. I commend him for being able to tolerate my aforementioned intense emotions. He has never once said will you calm the hell down or you’re driving me absolutely insane or you exhaust me. He simply always says I love you.
(If you’ve read Get a life, lady from https://lessthanperfectmama.com/2012/07/12/whats-a-little-brown-paint-back-hair-crazy/ then you know that I can be easily excited every now and then.)
Once, we were in California for my friend’s wedding. We had all had plenty to drink at the rehearsal dinner and Michael and I found ourselves in – what was at the time – a pivotal conversation, as we sat on the curb in the parking lot of the hotel, where I spoke of how I wanted so badly to see different parts of the world and how I couldn’t see myself living on Long Island forever. His job was and is rooted where we live – a major conflict with living on Long Island indefinitely.
Shortly after we returned to New York, he surprised me. We were going to Switzerland. He proposed to me a few days before we were to leave. The poor guy. Not only had he spent a blob of money on an engagement ring, now he was so worried that his fiancé would leave him for being “unadventurous” that he decided that flying to Switzerland on a moment’s notice was the only solution. It’s the only other place in the world I could see myself living, he said. (Funny how young love and complete ignorance of practicality makes you think you can up and move wherever you want regardless of ability to financially support yourself.) Then the East Coast Blackout of 2003 happened while we were in the airport about to board our flight. Don’t worry, we got to Switzerland a few days later, but only after spending a creepy, dark night in the American Airlines terminal at JFK with no water or blankets or food or anything really except…love, baby. I insisted we stay so that we would be the first people (on the entire east coast!!!) to board a flight. If we go home we’ll be giving up, I said. We must stay overnight. And so we did. Switzerland was stunning, by the way. All that natural beauty and clean air, not to mention the efficient transportation system, was worth peeing in a pitch-black airport bathroom, feeling my way around God-knows-what and hoping I had decent enough aim.
(Check out http://theswisswatchblog.com/ or http://theadventuresofmisswidgetandherpeople.wordpress.com/ if you’re a fan of Switzerland. I dream of visiting one day with our kids.)
There are many memories to choose from but a few stand out in my mind. Like the time when I came out of the grocery store expecting Michael to be waiting in the car – where I had left him – and instead I found two strangers looking into an open manhole. One end of a rope was attached to the hitch on the back of Michael’s pickup (Wow, that sounded like we live in a hick town. We don’t. Long Island has too much pavement to be hick.) and the other end of it was dangling somewhere in the sewer. Suddenly, was it Indiana Jones? No, it was my darling climbing skillfully up the rope. He had dropped his keys through the grate in the manhole cover and figured Oh, what the hay, I’ll just swoop down there and grab my keys. How hard can it be? And surely there won’t be any rats or mole people scurrying around.
Another time we were in California (again), and I was determined to ride a horse for the first time. Boy, did I (inadvertently) torture Michael that day. I was so afraid of that damn horse – but this was something on my life list of must do’s – that my behavior beforehand was shall we say…ridiculously bitchy? (The other riders in our group consisted of a 6 year-old girl and a woman who’d had her right leg amputated above the knee. Both of them were excellent riders. I was simultaneously embarrassed and inspired.) Michael was only supportive and sweet throughout the day. If he was thinking this chick is batcrap-off-her-rocker, get me out of here I’ll never know. He didn’t show it.
And finally, the week after I gave birth to Luke is something I’ll always remember. Obviously, because I had my first precious baby, but also because Michael served me breakfast in bed every day. Ohhhh, how I relished that week before he went back to work. Breakfast in bed is a true delight. Our baby was cute, too. (And yes, bringing Madeleine home from the hospital was equally magical but breakfast in bed didn’t happen. We were too busy with learning how to juggle 2 kids!)
This is not just an anniversary celebrating our marriage, more like a celebration of our journey. We call it Real-iversary, because it’s when it all really started. The marriage part made it legal, but the meeting part was the key moment. And please forgive the gross, goopiness of it all but I really do love this guy more today than any other day in our history. How could I not? He’s a devoted and nurturing father, a supportive, loyal and loving partner and…wink, wink…he’s a very passionate man. We’ve had to work at all this during these 12 years, people. It hasn’t been all buttercream and truffles and satin sheets – well, sometimes. I’m just telling all three or four of you who are reading this, the real deal is out there. If you haven’t found it, be patient and keep looking. You’ll be so glad you did.
By the way, check out A Cup of Jo’s post http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com/2012/07/what-sex-feels-like-to-guys.html and some of her other posts on the subject. They’re cute and funny. Below is a pic from our wedding.