Despite what you might think, I’m not entirely perfect. I may occasionally demonstrate a tiny hint of stubbornness, a pinch of moodiness, and possibly a tad of totally unfounded righteous conviction. Just a touch. He’s not perfect either, but he can always make me laugh and has only occasionally been the first of us to suggest PMS, (completely throwing caution to the freaking wind, showing me what a brave and strong man he is).
A decade ago, I wore a beautiful dress that cost more than my entire current wardrobe. With flowers in my hair, I stood facing my best friend in front of friends and family, (seated in the chairs I picked over other chairs because that’s important,) and made promises while teetering on the strange cusp between laughter and tears.
Tomorrow is the ten-year anniversary of that day, that beginning. But that’s not really where our story began. Our story began almost four years earlier over a picnic table. Our story is our story because of three other guys and their devilish charm. (Am I about to write a post on my anniversary about other men? Yes. Yes I am.)
I was twenty-three and in between living my young life in New York City and living my young life in San Francisco. With a summer before me, no place to live and no money, working at a camp seemed like the perfect solution. I considered my old camp – where I had been both a camper and counselor, spending so many summers that I could list as the best of my life – but going back after a few years gone didn’t feel right for some reason.
I decided to check out a different camp. Maybe working at a different camp wouldn’t feel disloyal? I arrived for an interview and everything felt wrong. This was a mistake. I couldn’t work at a different camp! What was I thinking? I couldn’t wait to put that place in my rear-view mirror.
And then three guys walked in.
As this was still early June, I was the first female on camp grounds. Think of a bear stepping from his cave after a long hibernation to find a fresh young salmon standing there, in shorts. (OK, so that would be weird, but you get the idea.) In this case, the bears were dashing young men bursting with charm and bad intentions, with accents from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Swoon. (I’m still the salmon. I should work on more flattering comparisons.) Three rakish grins and a smattering of dimples later, I signed on the dotted line and had myself a summer job.
A couple of weeks later I returned to camp for preseason and began the ridiculously fun process of readying a camp while getting to know several dozen twenty-somethings from all over the world. I think it was still day one when I first saw him. Tall, a little scruffy, always smiling that full, laughing-eyes smile. There was something about him. He looked familiar. I spent the day stealing glances. What was it about his face? It’s hard to explain, but looking at him made me feel at home.
We officially met the next day when assigned to picnic table repainting duty together. Painting picnic tables that day is maybe the most fun thing I have ever done. I still feel happy every time I see that signature reddish-brown.
Four years, four moves, a couple of continents, and a million laughs later we got married. Somehow those young people, frozen in time flirting over picnic table paint, are us – parents now, shouldering life’s responsibilities together, too often taking each other for granted, still laughing, married ten years.
The whole life I have now is his and mine together and, perhaps ironically, I have the dimples and charm of other men to thank for it. If not for their well-timed flirtatious attention, I would have driven away from that camp forever.
Could I possibly have ended up anywhere else but here and with him? Absolutely not. He felt like home when I first laid eyes on him because he is my home.
Happy Anniversary, Tim. Thank you for so many years as my partner. Thank you for so many belly laughs. Thank you for putting up with my very few imperfections. Thank you for the future we face together.
(And sorry that I’m the dbag who writes an anniversary post that’s sort of about other men.)