Today is New Years Eve and yes, 22 years ago we were married. We stood at the altar of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Denver and promised alot of things. We were married by a good friend of my husband, who happened to be a pastor Anyway, it was a cold night, much like tonight is going to be and there was snow in the streets. I was 24 and my husband was 27. At that point, it was not a sure thing...really. We were young, in love and thought we wanted to make a life together. That was about as much as we had planned...we were just going to play the rest by ear....
He called the next day and wanted me to come to his apartment to watch the Bronco's game. He and his room mate were having a party. No...I am not coming to your apartment...but I will meet you out. He really wanted me to come over...wanted to watch the game. By the time we firmed up plans, he was driving to Aurora during the last 1:12 in the game where "the fumble" saved the win for the Bronco's and he had missed the whole thing. He walked into bar after the game was over and had missed a piece of Bronco's history. At the time, I didn't understand what that meant. I do now.
Our first date was the stock show. Let's just say that I didn't really know what to think. We walked around and he tried to hold my hand and I wouldn't let him. He had on a tweed jacket and cowboy boots and we drove in his pick up truck. Yeah...he's a nice guy and all but....Then it happened. We were sitting at the rodeo and I was watching the cowboys "strangle" the poor calves with a rope. I could barely stand it. Why did they have to do that? Doesn't that hurt the poor things? I looked over at my date, at the time, and got the "you're going to marry him" thought in my head. Huh, really...
We started to do lots of things together...he was very persistant but unbelievably kind at the same time. We skied in the frigid temperatures, we took road trips and talked the whole way. We camped with mosquitos on the Grand Mesa. We took a canoe down the Colorado river and camped in a field of cows. How's that for a girl from New York? And here's the kicker...I was falling in love.
I went home to visit my parents in August for three weeks. It seemed like forever and we talked constantly...he was not only my boyfriend but had become my best friend in the process. He picked me up from the airport and we decided to go have a beer and visit. As we were talking he said...you know, "we oughta get married"...and that was that. I knew it was coming and I wanted the same thing but...we were just kids, and getting married was so grown up. Oh well...93 days from when he asked me in that sport's bar...we were married.
Now for that first year...beyond hard. We fought a lot...or I should say, I did. I fought for attention, power, things...just because I wanted to fight. My husband, on the other hand, likes peace. He wanted me to be happy. That's all and nothing more. It took a while to work out the kinks but we settled into a married routine.
In the first 10 years of marriage, we had some growing to do. He was with me when the Queen was born, took care of her like he knew how to be a dad naturally, did the same with my oldest son. We worked on a major remodel of our house, with our own hands, and dealt with the loss of my mother. I will never forget when I got the phone call that she was dying...I turned to my husband and said, "what do I do" to which he replied, "you go to her." I had a one and three year old and he had a full time job...who would take care of them when I went? I didn't need to ask that...he did and I went. When he picked me up at the airport after her death and funeral, I cried all the way home and he didn't say a word. I was so happy to be home, to have helped my mother die and to be able to come home to someone who, I realized, would always be there for me. Not only when it was easy but especially when it was hard.
We have been through other things that just solidify the strength of the man I married. He has been with me through losing my father, his father and other family issues. He has a grace and heart that is capable of more love and patience than any man I know. He is consistent, kind and thoughtful. He is not a romantic. If I push him to be...he will do it, but that is not who he is. He hasn't changed much in the last 20 something years. He was kind hearted and fun loving when he was young and although he has wrinkles around his eyes and gray in his beard, he is who he is. There is not a day that goes by that he doesn't tell me he loves me and gives me a kiss. He tells me how pretty I am every day...to which I usually reply that he needs to get his eyes checked!
I could go on forever with how much he means to me...but I think it is time to sum up the parts. He is my best friend all the time, my love most of the time, and the best father I know. I can't wait to see what the next 20 years brings us to conquer together.
So to my husband...I love you more today than 20 something years ago...a different, enduring, lasting love. I guess although we have been "winging it"...those things we said to each other that New Years Eve long ago were true:
I take you, Jim, to be my husband,
From this day forward
To join with you and share all that is to come,
and I promise to be faithful to you until death parts us.
So far so good!
We'll tawk later,