Because every day is a gift when you are with the person that speaks to your heart like no one else…
Even though it was only our third date — and her first visit to my (now our) home town — back in 2006, I already knew I loved her. Since early October, we had been emailing every day and talking for hours each night. We knew everything about each other from our life goals and how we approach parenting, to whether we preferred Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip (A deal breaker — and it’s Mayo, by the way).
When we met for the first time on Oct. 28, 2006, the connection was deep, earthshaking and instantaneous. Time stopped, the world disappeared and the moment we took hands I knew — KNEW — this was something amazing and heaven-sent. By the time we had our third date a little over two weeks later, I already knew something else: I absolutely loved her.
I wanted and needed her in my life every day until there were no days left in this world — and for eternity after that. We married two years later on Aug. 6, 2008 and, each day since — in small ways and big ways, day after day, moment to moment — my love for her and the love we share together has only continued to grow stronger, deeper and more complete.
I had to take this moment to say these things. To reflect on this blessing that I dreamed of, hoped for and quietly prayed would happen some day. And after 16 years since that first “I Love You” at the Wildcat Covered Bridge, I can honestly say, while I knew I loved her then, I couldn’t fathom loving her more than I already did.
Sitting on the edge of the bed this morning, I looked over at my wife’s slowly stirring figure. I watched her stretch beneath the blankets and finish with that little squeal that means it was a good stretch. She yawned, covering her mouth with the back of her hand like she always does. Her eyes focused and she slowly smiled at me.
I smiled back, knowing in that moment I was exactly where I was supposed to be in my life.
Before heading to work, I slipped a note into her lunch:
When my wife called to remind me about letting our dog out at noon, I instinctively retrieved a Post-It from the desk drawer and scrawled “Dog at noon,” then stuck it to the computer monitor.
This required shuffling a series of other yellow Post-Its into order of importance, with things like “Call about hair cut,” “Go to dry cleaners” and “Clean out van” written on them.
That one, of course, was moved to the very end of the line.
Sadly, they’re all things I should be able to remember on my own and usually do; like when I’m staring into the closet for a pair of pants to wear. Later, I got into the van and was gently reminded by a shocking-yellow piece of paper to “get gas.”
Many years ago, I bought my wife an Epilady shaver for Christmas. Because it was a sleek, modern, electrical device costing over $50, there was no reason to suspect it would feel like someone had just ripped the hair out of her legs using Super Glue and a roll of duct tape. While I’m sure I’ve gotten my wife gifts she didn’t really like, she’s always accepted them graciously. But in this case, as she chased me through the house completely naked and swiping at my scalp with her new Epilady, two things came to mind:
1) She really hates this gift,
2) I shouldn’t have gotten her the cordless model.
It’s not that I hadn’t been on other dates in my life. It’s just that, from the very first moment we took each other’s hands, none of the others seemed to matter anymore — Because nothing compared to this one.
The best one.
The last one I’ll ever want.
Both of us were recently divorced after long, unhappy marriages. We both had two children at home. And both of us had joined a dating website a month earlier within a few days of each other. Fate, it seemed, had already set things into motion.
10 years and one pair of wedding rings later, I’m still thanking fate each and every day.
But especially for this night, when the amazing woman I now call my wife was able to overlook the fact that her date drove a mini van.
Here’s how it all started…
[Insert gauzy time-travel sequence and harp music here]
I generally only watch nature shows on television when I want to appear as though I’m educating myself about something important, like the plight of the prematurely balding Rogainian monkey, when in fact I’m actually planning to do an independent study of the REM sleeping pattern on our couch.
However, while watching a documentary about the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs, Australia, I discovered something I never knew:
I want my own kangaroo.
As I watched three babies snuggle together in a blanket and play with each other’s big floppy ears, I inadvertently let out a sound that my wife mistakenly thought was a joyful whimper.
“Was that you?” she asked from the dining room.
“What? No WAY! Ha Ha! It was the kangaroo babies.”
Men, by their very nature, are grillers of food. If you follow me on Facebook, then you know I love grilling everything from steak kabobs to bacon-wrapped bratwurst. This is because grilling, aside from providing men with a legitimate excuse to drink beer and play with fire, is actually a sign of romance and affection dating back to the discovery of fire itself.
We know this thanks to recently discovered cave paintings depicting what archeologists believe is a romantic meal prepared by a Neanderthal named Glork soon after the discovery of fire.
According to archeologists, the sequence goes like this:
Painting one: Glork makes a small fire using a careful mixture of embers, dry leaves, and an assortment of twigs. He then douses it with liberal amounts of highly flammable liquid, creating a massive fireball that scorches the roof of his cave.
Painting two: Glork adds a marinated pterodactyl drumstick to the fire and begins drinking an unidentified beverage.
There’s a scene in the movie “Jaws” where the Mayor of Amity Island explains how yelling the word “BARRACUDA” won’t get much reaction on a crowded beach. “But if you yell ‘SHARK’ you’ll have a panic on your hands…”
Keeping that in mind, you’ll have some idea of the reaction you get from most men if you change “shark” to “vasectomy.”
This was the first word out of my radio this morning, and yes, it caught my attention immediately. I had mine 10 years ago after weeks of campaigning from my ex-wife, who had a degree in social work. Because of this, she was trained on how to approach sensitive subject matter. That’s why I was allowed to discover, with no pressure from her whatsoever, that my new place mat at the dinner table was actually a medical brochure titled:
As I mentioned earlier this week, today I am celebrating the gift of sharing the past eight years with the amazing woman I get to call my wife. We’re keeping a low profile for our anniversary, spending the day in quiet appreciation of each other. However, I wanted to surprise her with this expression of my love, and share with you the many reasons why I treasure her…
Eight years ago tomorrow, I stood at the altar, watching as my wife crossed the courtyard toward the church. I remember smiling so much my cheeks hurt; I remember the pride and appreciation I felt knowing I was about to be her husband; and I remember a momentary breeze lifting a strand of hair away from her face, like God’s finger gently brushing it aside as she entered the chapel.
As with any rare occasion when we don’t enter a room together, our eyes found each other immediately. So much was said to each other during that long walk to the altar, not in words, but spoken between our two hearts — in a language we had been fluent in from the moment we met.
Oct. 28, 2006:
My search for a red rose after making the hour-long drive to Salem for our first date had put me behind. Coupled with the fact that I hadn’t been on a real date in nearly 20 years, had lost 23 pounds since my divorce several months earlier, and was driving a Plymouth Voyager mini-van, I technically had four strikes against me already. Plus, after several weeks of chatting together on Match.com and long evening phone calls, she had finally posted her profile picture. When I saw it, I realized I wasn’t only in danger of striking out before our date even started: