Monday, February 13, 2012

Remind Her of when You Fell in Love

I was driving in my car, listening to the radio, when I heard a commercial for a jewelry store promoting Valentine’s Day gifts. The sing song voice of the announcer said, “Buy her a new diamond and remind her of the day she fell in love.” If you live inside my head you find yourself parsing things in different ways and what you might hear is that the woman fell in love with her fella the day he gave her a diamond.

I wish I could say better things about the person I dated previous to Mac, but I will be very kind when I say that generosity wasn’t his thing. If he had given me a diamond I would have gone catatonic. By the time Mac and I began dating I was more than a little bit raw, downtrodden, and very aware of how much money influenced relationships. When we officially began dating I was a completely impoverish college student and he had a career (reading between the lines this means he wasn’t in dire financial straits). Though we had been good friends for a long time before we dated, I don’t think I had ever told him how bad things really were, but I knew he had his guesses.

We had an abbreviated dating period, starting at the beginning of Fall and ending with us getting married before Winter was over. One day in November Mac decided he needed some winter boots, so off we went to a fairly posh sporting goods store to buy snow boots. We browsed, he tried on a pair or two, I looked at price tags and gently set things back down, and waited for him to be finished. “Do you want to try some on?” He asked. I politely declined. I didn’t dare look down, because looking down meant looking at my shoes, and my shoes were in a dire state. They were my only pair of winter shoes. Did I fall in love with Mac because we left the store with a beautiful pair of boots for me that he insisted on buying? No. I knew that I already loved him, but I didn’t know what it meant to feel truly loved; in that moment I began to, because it bothered him that I had one pair of shoes and they weren’t going to keep my feet warm and dry. He wanted for me what he did for himself.

My fluff ball often asks when Mac and I are going to renew our vows. I think she has a preoccupation with this because, as she states, “been married five times.”

The first time I stood in front of Mac and spoke my vows I was full of love, excited about the future and absolutely confident. But I must confess to having a somewhat out of body experience while he spoke his vows to me. I looked up into his beautiful brown eyes and wondered at the enormity of what we were promising. I was literally awestruck. It’s one thing to feel it and another to say it. As I’ve said before, for me it all becomes real when it is said out loud; hearing his commitment to me out loud made it all real.

One of our five ceremonies was by a sea captain on a boat. Okay, more specifically the captain of a cruise ship. I wouldn’t say it was hokey, but if you were on the outside looking in (literally, through the door to the enormous party lounge where we had all gathered), it could. However, three years had passed since we had last spoken our vows, we had faced some major ups and downs, and we were celebrating finding out I was pregnant with our Fluff Ball. Looking into those brown eyes, I knew I understood those vows in ways I never had just three years prior. No out of body experiences this time, I was firmly planted body and soul in front of him and knew the commitment I renewed.

Skipping forward two children and three more years you would have seen physically exhausted parents who were wearing worn out clothes, barely had time to get a real haircut, or spend any real time relating to each other in ways other than parents of young (not sleeping through the night) children. The beauty of the situation is that we were in it together and had gotten ourselves into it together.

One particularly blekky January 9th afternoon there was a knock on my door. My friend Trina was had stopped by, “How ya doing?” She asked. Well, given that I was tired, a little depressed, and looking very unfeminine due to a horrific haircut, I said, “Great! Come on in.” Then the strangest thing happened. After a few minutes of chit chat she asked if she could take a shower, while pointing to her bag, showing me a change of clothes. Well, it was really odd, but naturally I said yes.

We were chatting, post shower, when Mac walked in with a bag of fast food. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon. He handed Trina the bag and told me to take a shower. I asked him what was going on, he told me to get ready to go out, and to put on my LBD (Little Black Dress). I was excited, suspicious, and a little worried.  Trina had agreed to babysit our kids while leaving her little one with a sitter and it felt too indulgent. Both assured me it would be okay and to just go and enjoy myself. So, I did!

After Mac spruced himself up we got in the car and drove away. We took the long way to the restaurant, and because we were a bit early, Mac asked me if we could take a little detour to see where some new building was. In the bliss of being on a date and wearing Dry Clean Only clothes, I didn’t care where we drove. So enraptured, it took me a minute to realize he had parked the car. It took me a minute longer to realize that I recognized some faces.

Mac opened my door and my beloved friend Pam came to me and gave me a huge hug. Mac opened the trunk and handed me a bouquet of flowers. It was only then that I realized we stood in front of the new courthouse building. Along with Mac’s close friend Jeff, the four of us hurried inside, and there in her chambers, was the judge who had guided us through our vows once before… at exactly 6:15. The same date and time she had married us years before.

I stood before Mac barely able to speak my vows because I was so overwhelmed. I cried and I beamed and I fell so, so, so much in love. This man had taken an ordinary day and turned it, once again, into a day that seems like a fairy tale. Forget my childhood fantasies of my wedding day, this day surpassed all that, because after six years of marriage, for better and for worse, in sickness, and in health, for richer and poorer, through good times and bad, I had always stood beside him, under the umbrella of our commitment and love for each other.

Afterwards we celebrated with Jeff and Pam and had Crispy Crème donuts in the parking lot! It was perfect. After hugs and kisses good-bye, Mac helped me into the car and told me not to worry, we were still going out to dinner. However, he turned left when he should have turned right and I immediately knew where we were going. We were headed to the resort where we had spent our wedding night! When we arrived in the parking lot he went left when he should have gone right.  I said, “You’re parking in the overnight guest parking.” He didn’t say a word, he opened the trunk, took out our packed bags, and ushered me out of the car and into lobby. While I was beside myself with glee to be there I was a tad bit flummoxed! Who was staying with our kids?

It turned out that Pam had dashed from the courthouse to our home to relieve Trina. She, and Mac’s close friend Christoph, took on the challenge of watching our two kids overnight! Pam and Christoph had never met.

We were checked into the exact same room we had spent our wedding night in! After settling in, we went to the restaurant where we proceeded to eat a seven course dinner with all the appropriate pomp and circumstance. Sometime after returning to our room, with fire built in the fireplace, we were hunkered down in bed and watching TV! How perfect was that? No Barney, no diapers, no baths (okay there was one), and a TV that we could watch without interruption.

In every way imaginable, it was perfection. My husband, the man who chose me over and over had gone through enormous effort to give me something I desperately needed and wanted; a night free of meeting someone else’s needs, to be able to focus on my husband, and to tell each other once again what was most important, that we were together, come what may.

Long ago, sixteen years now, we decided that December 9th would be our special day. It was the day he asked me to marry him and the day I said yes. So, when I hear advertisements for Valentines’ Day, anniversaries, and all the rest, I want to share what my Mac has done for me. He looks at me and sees what I need; heart to heart moments where I can speak the words that become ever truer, ever more felt, ever stronger. I have long since learned that he wants more for me than he wants for himself. Given that I feel the same way, there is the assurance that we can grow and change, that life can happen, and that through it all, at the very end, we’ll be together and who we were meant to be.

Thanks for reading.