Today, July 1, 2008 marks the 8th anniversary of marriage to my wonderful wife, Dani.
To say the time has gone by would be a lie, and yet to say the time hasn't gone fast enough would also be a lie.
Our marriage has been marked with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, in such a short history.
In the beginning, it was a rather rough transition period for us. Mostly because of me. At the age of 20, I had hit the beginning peaks of the "party stage" of my life. I went from being responsible for myself, a pocket full of money, and generally carefree. This was a year prior to getting married, and also the first year of my oldest son, Joshua. While having some responsibility to my girlfriend/fiancee and to my parents (who technically still owned me by way of permanent mailing address, I answered primarily to myself and no other. And then came Joshua. From parties everynight and sleeping half the day away, to working all day for an always way too low paycheck and sitting at home all night with my new family, it was quite the shock to my "lifestyle". Eventually I crawled back out of the shell I had surrendered to, and eventually, unfortunately swung my personality back to the "old ways". I remained in this not so great way of life for the next few years. Trying as it was, my beautiful wife put up with me and saw me through it all. Save a flatsided frying pan (luckily due to a wall and not my head), we had made it through fairly unscathed.
This 2 or 3 years, I would've liked to have seen gone by much faster, but then again, I suppose if I hadn't slow cooked my maturity I may not have learned a darn thing, or kept my wife.
I remember when we first moved in together. It was right after Joshua was born. We had originally opted to adopt him out, but after holding him, and feeling the ice melt off my heart just a little bit, I changed my mind. And Dani was right there to back me up. We had had plans of college, and financial success, followed by children. I already had a bit of college under my belt, but after the birth, I dropped out, realizing I couldn't support my family, spend time with them, spend time at or money for school. I was okay with that. Studying, which unlike high school, college actually required, was not on my top list of skills. About a month later, Dani received a letter from one of her colleges of choice that had accepted her. She was heartbroken, because photography and owning her own studio had been the big thing she wanted to do with her life. I tried to console her, and tell her everything would be okay, but emotions also don't fit into my top skill sets. So, what'd I do? Instead of spend the evening with her, I got trashed. I was there at home physically, but instead of being with her, I consoled myself over the fact that I had messed up her life. Stupid, stupid man.
And yet, she stayed with me despite my shortcomings. WE have similar interests but are essentially two entirely opposite creatures. She can be logical, but is ruled by emotion, I on the otherhand still avoid emotion in favor of logic. Anger is my main emotion, and i hate to let it out. It usually doesn't involve her, except that she ends up being the one who gets the brunt of it. How we found any sense of compatibility, or how I managed to make her love me is still a mystery to me even all these years later.
One of the high points came again, right after moving back in together after living in two separate states, our 2nd son, Corwyn, was born. I worked everyday through it all, and spent most of the off-time at the hospital with Dani and him. As much as I hate hospitals, much less trying to sleep in a chair that you find out AFTER the fact that it folds out for better comfortability, we were able to spend a lot of time together, and without any yelling.
After going through all these years, and some very deeply disturbing personal issues, I would say this time last year was one of those times that flew by, and yet I didn't want that one night to end:
After ending work for the week, I blindfolded my wife and ushered her to a local spa for a morning of pampering. We had a little ice cream with the boys in the afternoon, and then she was blinfolded again. This time, she was brought to a local upscale wine and steak house. If you're ever in the Des Moines area, try Fleming's. It's a great place. (don't forget to bring the thick wallet!)
When she was seated and the menus placed before her, she was allowed to take the blindfold off. Her face lit up like a kid in a candy store. I hadn't seen that look on her face in quite a long time, so my gift was given right there. And then again when she timidly asked, "Can I order the lobster?" Of course I assented to anything she wanted, minus buying a $400 bottle of wine off the big wine list. Great mood lighting, tableside service for her lobster, a glass or two of wine for her (I don't drink the stuff). I FINALLY did something right!!!
We could've gone home at that point, and she would've been happy, but instead I took her to a friends Wine and Cigar shop for a little live Jazz music, and then a moonlight stroll around our local city-maintained Rose Garden. I hadn't been to sleep in over 24 hours prior to the end of the night, but if I could've turned back the clock a few hours, every few hours, I would have.
This year, with the anniversay being in the middle of the week, we both are working. We get to spend 4 days together over the 4th of July weekend, starting Thursday. So in lieu of a day off and out galavanting in each others' company, I arrived home to deliver her some lillies before she left for work. She tried to test me the other day to see if I knew what special day was coming up. I didn't forget (always nice to have the day be on the 1st! Our dating anniversary was on New Year's Day!), and she saw them and cried. She didn't say, but I'm pretty sure they were tears of joy. So apparently, I'm still able to do some right things from time to time.
And 8 years later, here we are, still married despite being given bad odds from a lot of people who know us. A testament to her strong character for sure.
As the note with the flowers said, Dani- I love you more now than I did on day one!