T: Amazing Husband ST: Three-year-old Wonder Prof. G: Advisor I Prof. C: Advisor II Julie: Stylish Sister Rob: Awesome Brother Belle: Our Cat Bill: Grumbling BIL Rita: Uncomplicated SIL SMU: Smallish Midwestern University Doctoral University: where I got my Ph.D.
Drop Me A Line
academeblog AT gmail.com
Quote of the Day
Sunday, September 18, 2005
When You Know
T and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary this June, but since we'd just returned from a vacation on our actual anniversary, we decided to postpone our night out. It kept getting pushed further and further back until finally we decided we would go out together this weekend. We dropped ST off at a neighbor's house Saturday afternoon.
A movie, dinner, dessert. A nice long walk. A deep conversation.
I met T during a club meeting on campus when we were both undergrads, and after the second meeting he offered to drive me home. (It was winter and we had several, several chilly nights.) I remember getting into his car for the first time: an old but very clean Buick Skyhawk, near spotless interior, a blanket and a pair of Eddie Bauer snowboots on the backseat. I was impressed that it was so clean in the inside, everything organized. I was also impressed that, unlike so many of the other men I'd dated, he didn't have a radar detector or massive stereo in his car. He was respectful, driving me up to my house and then walking me in. For a few months, that was it.
I was fairly certain in those beginning months that if I did end up dating him, it would only be for the short term. I had recently returned from a year in Europe when we met, and I was planning to head back to Europe the following summer. I was not interested in a long-term relationship, particularly with this man who was so different from me. I was a studious girl who had never attended a party, who didn't listen to pop music, who didn't even own a CD player. A girl who came from a staunchly conservative, Catholic family and who still attended Mass every Sunday. A girl who was opinionated and saw the world in black and white. A girl who had had only one long relationship (2 years) and several week-long flings, a girl who was a virgin in so many senses of the word. From what friends told me about T, he dated a lot, was smart but preferred sports, wasn't active in a church, was really easy-going and was generally a popular guy in certain college circles. All of my friends universally agreed that he was one of the most attractive men on campus. By comparison, I felt a little dowdy and sheltered. At that time, I'd never even been to a college party. Heck, I'd never even gone to Prom.*
During college I worked at a Barnes and Noble Bookstore (which I believe I will always count as one of my favorite jobs), the Queen of the Reference Section. One night T came in and we started chatting -- it was just before Christmas, and he wanted to buy a book for his Mom. I recommended a book; he bought it. Before he left, he asked me if I liked pie. I said that, of course, I did, and he asked me to meet him at a Perkins after I was done working. When I explained that I wouldn't be done with work until after midnight, he smiled and said that, if I was interested, he'd be waiting for me at Perkins. At 12:20am, there he was, sitting in a booth looking at the dessert menu.
We talked until almost 4:00am. It was wonderful. As it turned out, our families were very similar, we had similar plans for our lives, and although our political views were (at that time) very different, we had fun, respectful conversations. When we walked outside into the frigid night, he put his hand on the small of my back as we headed for our cars. He opened my car door for me and said goodnight.
It wasn't until several weeks later that he actually kissed me, or that we talked about having a "real" relationship. But somehow, gradually, our relationship reached a point where we could not imagine ourselves without the other. Engagement. Law school for him. Marriage. Graduate school for me. A house. A baby together. Six years.
I look at T now and I see a compassionate, intelligent man, an excellent father, a true north. A man who has never once discouraged me from doing something I thought was right. A man who has always been a friend and a lover, someone honest and loyal. I look at him and I realize that there is nothing -- nothing -- of which I am surer in this world than him, his love and support. And as I look to the future and see a lot of uncertainty ahead, I know that if he is there with me, we will make a home wherever we are.
Happy belated anniversary, T. Here's to dozens more.
* Not because I wasn't asked, mind you! (Insecurities rear their ugly heads.) I was definitely a non-conformist in high school, and going to Prom for me would have been like selling out. Also, during my last year of high school I was dating a man who was already in college, and he certainly wasn't interested in attending a high school prom.