This was written on Friday and I struggled with the choice between posting it early on Saturday morning, or posting it today since Jon and I wouldn't be home all weekend, and since I forgot to post it before we left bright and early on Saturday, I guess it'll be late. What's that saying? Better late then never?
We've been through a lot in the 10 years we've known each other, and when I think back to the beginning, on the very first day I met you, only one phrase comes to mind: "It smells like a damn salon in here." It's the first thing you ever said to me, and you said it just after I climbed into the front seat of your 1989 Chrysler LeBaron.
We were on our way to a picnic in the middle of February with a few mutual friends and I could have decked them for sticking me in the front seat with the likes of you. You see, your comment told me two things: a) you were a cocky SOB with no manners, and b) you preferred girls who smelled like dog crap as opposed to expensive shampoo. And as if that weren't bad enough, you spent the entire time at the outing comparing me to some girl named Jen (we had the same hair color, we both liked Dr. Pepper, we had very similar mannerisms, etc.) and I would later learn that she was the girl you wanted, and the girl you could never have.
I managed to bare with you during the picnic, even the next few times you came over to hang out with my brother, but I made no attempt to get to know you because I was harboring a grudge for that one, stupid comment you made. What can I say? I was 16, immature, and much like I am to this day, was very turned off by arrogant know-it-alls.
Then one day in July we all made plans to go to The Great Lakes Medieval Faire and you were going to meet the rest of us there. The image is still incredibly clear in my mind. You must have been almost 30 yards away but you stood out like a sore thumb--dressed in a t-shirt, plaid shorts, a pair of Birkenstocks, and a hat that was almost the exact replica of Gilligan's from Gilligan's Island. You were a character from a 1960s sitcom surrounded by 16th century knights and gypsies. I can't say that that's when I knew I wanted to marry you, but that is when all of my predetermined notions went out the window, and I developed a little crush on you.
Our relationship didn't really come about the way I had planned. I know now that you don't do subtle. You need everything to be short and to the point. You need the abbreviated version without back stories or subplots. If I had known that back then I would have just said, "You're my new boyfriend," while we rode the medieval version of the tea cups together. Instead, I spent the next 6 months nudging my way into your life, inviting myself into your plans, and even convincing you to move in to the apartment 2 doors down from my parents house. You became my best friend--you even told me that you loved me once and I almost melted even though you were sick and vulnerable and I knew you meant it in a totally friendly way.
I got my point across eventually, though. I needed a little encouragement from Kathi to just come out with it, and I did, but in a very over-the-river-and-through-the-woods-and-down-in-the-valley-and-up-the-mountain kind of way, until in the end you were all…are you saying that you like me? I had done it again. I gave you a long story with twists and plots and characters who hadn't been introduced yet, and you were following, but barely. So I answered your question--yes, I was saying that I liked you. We declared ourselves a couple later that day.
Almost 9 and a half years later we're still here, only happily married, with 2 adorable children, err…dogs. We've had our problems, usually revolving around the same communication barrier--me struggling to be blunt, you struggling to read my mind, but I don't think anyone could ever understand me the way you do. You know me better than I know myself most of the time, and while it usually annoys me at first, I've come to appreciate that you can identify one of my panic attacks or unnecessary worrying before they get the best of me. You've seen me at some of my most vulnerable moments, you've watched my body grow softer with age, you know my every little fault, and yet you love me more with each day.
You've taught me so much over the years through just accepting yourself and never holding yourself back. We all make light of your lack of an internal monologue, but as someone who always censors herself once, twice, three times over, I admire your ability and confidence to just say whatever is on your mind without worrying what other people will think of you.
You've taught me to relax and go with the flow and that no matter what, everything will work itself out.
You've taught me how to give love and accept love without having to worry about the millions of what ifs.
You've taught me that all I have to do is be myself and the world will become a much easier place to be.
I love you more than I could ever say in a letter, more than I could ever say in a life time…
Even if you don't like the way my hair smells.