Ten Year Anniversary.

This week is our ten year wedding anniversary, and no one is as surprised as me. In a life filled with wild variations, mistakes, moves, loss, and questions, Missy has been a guiding star. We met fifteen years ago on a now-defunct Yahoo personal ad. Clearly, she swooned from my proper use of grammar.

And here we are. Ten years. My father told me, some years ago, that marriage got better with each passing year. I believe that. The people we are in year ten are a far cry from the people who married, and yet our complementary status only seems to grow. I’ve noticed a few things, too– liking someone is different from loving them, and it’s a critical part of building a life together.

It’s more than a house. It’s the feeling, and the kid (five feet tall and growing), the pets, the shared things. Details and fractions of details and the addition of things you never knew, all woven together into whatever it is you do every day without seeming to notice.

This is Missy in her element. There are so many parts to this picture that represent her essence.

Notice: Comfy socks. Diet Coke. Laptop, as she grades a line of interminable essays, ever the English professor. Her work ethic is unmatched, and yet, there she is smiling amidst *cough* a, ahh, representation of our pets. Cats love her, dogs adore her, and they all crowd around her much like the rest of the world, a guiding star and calming presence in a world of ceaseless uncertainty.

That’s one of her tricks. She removes uncertainty when it shows up, and the house- and our lives– go on at a wonderful, sedate velocity, filled with warmth and humor.

Ten years with my bride. Thanks, babe. All the love.

Happy Birthday, Son. Love, Dad.

Our son Teddy turns nine today. His birthday is the culmination of a series of surprises, that include (but are not limited to):

Becoming a dad at forty, when my entire life had been spent in service to myself, not others.

The surreal experience of my bride and I being sent home with a live human being in our red Mustang, and wondering, “What the hell do we do now?”

Discovering that, for the first few months, he didn’t do very much; sort of like an exceptionally cute inchworm with toes.

Watching him grow. Alarmingly fast. Like, “Your four year old will need you to help him shave soon.” That kind of fast. Missy is very tall. I am tall. We’re all tall. Teddy is really tall. He’s five feet tall, with no end in sight.

Learning that kids tend to run around naked. A lot.

Finding out that due dates for babies are a “serving suggestion”, as he arrived six weeks early, when I had the entire bathroom ripped out and our toilet sitting over a crawlspace. It had quite the frontier feel, but with 85% more possums and raccoons.

Watching him develop a love for kittens and puppies as naturally as if it were his calling.

Seeing the first time he told a joke, and it was funny.

Holding hands with him as we walk, and wondering if I will ever be more needed (or happy) in my life than in that moment.

Seeing his mother in him, as well as his grandmother, and me, and a line of wonderful people who all comprise part of him; but knowing that he is utterly unique.

Wondering who he will become, but also fearing the passage of time.

Standing quietly in the kitchen with my wife, talking about him in hushed tones because he amazes us.

Feeling my purpose realized, fully and with complete joy, and being thankful that I get to see him grow.

Happy birthday, Teddy. You are the best thing under the sun. We love you.

 

How To Write a Love Scene

I’ve cracked the code, people. I have the power. Sexy time? I own it. Lovemaking? Booty Call?

Drive By Quickie?

Check, check, and mate.

Fellow writers, pay attention. This is my gift to you. Dear readers, use this information as you see fit.

*Cracks Knuckles*

Writing the perfect love scene:

  1. List everything you would do with your partner if you didn’t have kids, pets, or a job.
  2. Cut the speed of all those things in half.
  3. Add candles and chocolate.

 

You’re welcome, people.

I love you.

I am forty-eight, and I have achieved a kind of balance where I can now tell my friends I love them.

It’s liberating and invigorating and a lot of other action verbs (gerunds, I think) and I’ve waited my entire life for the satisfaction of having friends– some who have known me for thirty years or more– to whom I can say, without hesitation, “I love you.”

Yes, we may accompany this with an awkward male hug or no hug at all, but it’s an unexpected benefit of aging that, up until recently, had been wholly unknown to me.

I anticipated the aches and pains, the, ahem, thickening around the midsection. The, ahem, lines of character, hard earned and now worn as an emblem of experience and a life well lived.

What I did not anticipate is what I’ve seen older men doing around me all my life. They are both sweeter– yes, sweeter– and meaner all at once, a contradiction I’d previously only found in childish candy and chocolate milk on the verge of spoilage. It’s a heady sensation to me, since I (among everyone who knows me) am most surprised to see myself here, on the cusp of fifty– happy, rich with friends, and able to put away the concerns of a younger man.

I think it’s the best of both worlds. In my mind, I am twenty-something, an impervious wall of the me I knew from mirrors long ago, but a construct; a thing that existed only at a glance.

I like this aspect of me a great deal more. My son senses it. My bride, too.

I think getting older means that going slower means we are free. Free to say things likeĀ I love you without irony or care.

I’m also closer to the senior discount at Denny’s, andĀ yes, I will use it.

I’m a man!