I met my wonderful husband Joe in 1998. He was 34, had never been married, and had no children. I had just turned 30, had a two-year-old son, and my husband of six years had just moved out 6 short weeks earlier. Friends introduced us--even though I'd said I really wasn't in the mood to meet any men. It was way too soon! What were they thinking? I wondered. But fate intervened, and I agreed to meet him, anyway.
Our first meeting was disastrous. I was sure he was not my type. He was sure I wasn't his. He said I acted like a snob. That was intentional! I didn't want to give him any vibe that said yes, I'm interested. Because clearly, I was not. Or so I thought.
Our mutual friends, sure that we were meant to be together, gave Joe my number. I cringed when I heard the news. Please don't call, I silently pleaded to no one in particular. Please! But for some reason, a few days later, the redneck boy called the snobby girl. We talked two hours straight! He was amazing--funny, interesting, optimistic, interested in what I had to say... I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed talking to him. We talked every other night after Chad was in bed, for two hours straight each time.
Valentine's Day was fast approaching, so he asked if he could take me out. Of course he could! I was practically in love with him already, I wanted to shriek! He told me to wear something fancy; he was taking me out for our first date, but the details were a surprise.
The day came, and I sent Chad to a sitter and then downed a few wine coolers. I was so nervous. I hadn't dated in eight years! It was raining outside when I heard a knock on the door. There was my Valentine, holding roses. And at the end of the driveway--a limo! We drank champagne and went out to a fancy dinner (with the friends who introduced us) at a restaurant overlooking the town. It was beautiful and perfect. On the ride home, we held hands. We hugged goodnight when it was all over. Who was this guy, not wanting to make a move? Was he a... real live gentleman?
I think the part that got me most was, a month or so into our relationship, he said, "I think I'm falling in love with your son." Oh! How to get straight to a mother's heart! He didn't just love me, but he loved my son. Who soon became his son, too. We married six months later. When I got pregnant, some of his buddies asked, "Do you hope to have a boy? You know, a son of your own?" But Joe would say, "I already have a son." And he meant it.
I could go on and on about my sweet husband, but let's just say that after 10 years together, he has only gotten better (if that's even possible). He still makes me dizzy when he kisses me. He cooks all of our meals every day, and they are to-die-for. Sometimes he even does things like garnishes the plate with parsley! Or he'll draw hearts on all of our napkins. He'll pack the kids' lunches occasionally, and he'll draw a really cool picture on each of their lunch bags. He's always in a great mood, greeting us with a big smile and warm welcome at the end of the day. Everyone who knows him loves him. He makes me laugh like no one else. He is the most considerate and thoughtful person in the whole, wide world. He would be my very best friend even if we had never gotten married. I could go on for days.
I couldn't love him more.
Happy (almost!) 45th birthday, Bear.
(I couldn't wait until the 15th to talk about my love for you.)