We met while working at Taco Bell, cogs in the same burrito-manufacturing machine.
He thought I was a hippie. Must have been the long skirts and sandals.
I thought he was a deep thinker. Must have been the acid trips and long periods of silence.
On our first date, he predicted that we would marry. I told my sister he was possibly psychotic but also a fantastic kisser, so obviously a second date was in order.
When I told him I was pregnant (he was a really good kisser), he asked me to marry him. This response confirmed my initial diagnosis.
“Why would we get married? We hardly know each other.” was my exact quote.
Not exactly the romantic response he expected from the throw-caution-to-the-wind, flower child-type he believed me to be.
To be fair, the fact that I was pregnant and stating that we hardly knew each other speaks to a certain recklessness in behavior on my part that may have blinded him from a true understanding of my more rigid, vacuum-loving, clutter-averse self.
So we waited.
And this boy of twenty-one moved into my parents’ house to be with me during the pregnancy. And left Taco Bell and got a new job. On the assembly line. Third shift. Working longer hours than he had ever worked and coming home covered in valve grease so we would have health insurance.
And then our son was born.
And we married. Walking down the aisle, staring at each other in disbelief. More post-traumatic stress than soon-to-be wedded bliss.
A few days before the wedding I had caught a glimpse of him standing in my parents’ living room, wearing his favorite Marvin the Martian t-shirt and black and red-striped skater shorts, toe poking through the rubber sole of his Converse.
AND. I. FREAKED. OUT. But quietly. In my head.
I was certain in that moment that love would not be enough. On a thousand different levels we were two people with very little in common. I would never appreciate his love of all things Grateful Dead. He would never understand my affection for Frontline documentaries. We had built a relationship on assumptions and sex – we were doomed. DOOMED.
And yet we married.
And stumbled into an apartment. And then a mortgage. And then two more sons. And all the things that come with all those things. We have faltered, sprawled, lurched, reeled and staggered our way through nearly twenty years.
It has not always been pretty or fun. We are not always appreciative, thoughtful or gracious with one another. And, in true amateurish fashion, we can be downright trifling. That is, just to say, we have eaten the plums that the other was saving. http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15535
Yet he reminds me every night to take off my earrings – otherwise I fall asleep with them in. He keeps track of my phone, my keys, my wallet, family birthdays and my sanity – no easy task. Over the years he has changed diapers, cleaned up vomit and purchased tampons without blinking. He has had the patience to create elaborate Halloween costumes out of toilet paper tubes and hot glue, and NEVER referred to a day spent with his own sons as “babysitting.” It is because of him that these same sons have reached (or nearly reached) adulthood needing much less therapy than if I had raised them alone.
He deals with the fact that some days I am a raging lunatic – and yet he comes home anyway. And I deal with the fact that he will NEVER, EVER grasp the lure of Pride and Prejudice or the importance of making the bed – and yet I gladly let him sleep next to me every night. Together we allow each other to be both our best and worst selves – for better or worse.
And having said all that I am certain that we will each have the overwhelming desire to strangle the other within 48 hours of my writing this blog post.
We are amateurs after all.