I started the day off in a funk and it went down from there. My bad mood was apparently contagious and my husband was my first unsuspecting victim. He tried, God love him; he tried to remain positive. But the babies were crying; I was trying to console them, focus on school emails, and deal with business phone calls all at the same time. I lost my temper when I got up to use the bathroom and realized our one year old Australian shepherd decided to decimate our bathroom trash can and leave a trail of its contents all through the back half our house and the back yard. We have a general rule in our house to leave the bathroom door shut because of our dumpster diving canine and it was apparent that someone, not me, had broken that rule. I was furious.
Immediately, I lit into him. “You didn’t close the damn door again and now I have a mess to clean up. Thank you so very much.”
He fired right back with three times as much force, “Don’t give me that shit, you should’ve emptied the damn thing like I told you to.”
I was pissed. It wasn’t even full. That wasn’t the point. The point was that the door should have been closed and it wasn’t. He continued to yell at me from the kitchen while I was sweeping up the trash in the other room. I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, understand what he was saying. Instead, I shut down. It was Valentine’s Day and we were fighting first thing in the morning. I hated today.
We had such a great weekend. How did it go from that to this? Head down, skip breakfast, go back to work. My skipping breakfast would surely send the message that I was just as mad as he was.
Two hours later, he left and went to the store. He was gone for about thirty minutes and came back with two small heart shaped boxes of chocolates for the kids. Then he reached in the bag and pulled out another bigger heart shaped box. This one was for me and contained my favorite, Ghirardelli chocolates. He reached in again and pulled out a card and handed it to me. One more reach in and he handed me a Coca-Cola. I couldn’t help but smile.
I opened the card. It had the same cliché messages you would expect on a Valentine’s Day card: I love you, you’re perfect for me, blah, blah, blah. But it was the hand written message that earned the brownie points: “I love you more everyday. Your hand fits in mine perfectly. I love my life with you in it. Our children are growing and thriving. Sorry Tucker ate your tampons. I will love you till the day I die. Forever yours.”
This was a truce. This wasn’t an “I’m sorry.” There was nothing really to apologize for. Tucker was an asshole. We knew this. We were not mad anymore. This was a simple truce intertwined with an “I know you better than anyone, and I love you.” And, it was funny in that gross dog-eats-your-bathroom-trash kind of way.
I guess that’s how I knew he was “the one” for me. This is not the first argument we’ve ever had, not by a long shot. But, we are really good at arguing. We know how to do it. We never let an argument go longer than it needs to. We never say anything we can’t take back. We’re never too proud to apologize to each other, first or last, it doesn’t matter. And when the argument is done, it’s done. There’s no grudge. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather argue with.
I think my favorite thing is to watch him with our kids. When he puts them to bed with me, he always lies down with our daughter and his feet dangle off the bed. She wraps her little arms around his neck as he kisses her good night. Our son usually begs for a bedtime story and he never fails to come up with something on the fly. A smile is on the verge of escape every night when I hear that “goo-night daddy.”
He sings completely off key. And most times, he doesn’t even know the words. He did karaoke on my birthday and it was…well, it was. But that’s okay, because sometimes he gets those words right and even a few stray keys. What’s important is that when a love song comes on the radio, he’s the one it reminds me of. We have two songs that we claim, but there are so many more that move me to tears when I think about the love I have for him.
More recently, I have been thinking about our wedding day. More specifically, that walk down the aisle and the thoughts I was having with each step. At the end of the aisle, I saw my past, my present, and my future. I saw my best friend. I saw my protector, my provider, and my confidant. Most brides experience nervousness or some kind of stressor on their wedding day. I didn’t have any of that. I couldn’t wait to be his wife. I knew, as I know now, that there will be curve balls thrown our way. There was never any doubt that he was meant for me and I for him.
Someday, we’ll have to pay for both of our girls’ weddings, their prom dresses, and both of our sons’ tuxedos. Someday soon we’ll be buying cars and insurance for our teenagers. If we’re lucky, they’ll all even get to college. Someday we’ll finally get to retire and do some traveling. And maybe someday one of us will get sick with cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or suffer a terrible accident. For richer or poorer, better or worse, in sickness and in health, I am his wife.
In the mind of a girl who once swore she’d never get married and have children, things have certainly turned around. So what is love?
Love is powerful. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)