Ten years ago today, I said “I Do”.
And just as I promised, I have.
My wife means everything to me. She is my rock. Kind of like Alcatraz but without the prison bars, shanks, and solitary confinement.
Perhaps Alcatraz isn’t the most romantic metaphor but I can’t think of a better way to explain the unbreakable and inescapable bond we share.
While I like to tell people that we met after I stuffed a finskie in her g-string at Sugar Lumps Cabaret, I really met Heather umpteen years ago while standing in line at the airport.
The flight I was taking to Indianapolis was canceled as soon as I arrived at the gate and everyone was asked to re-ticket. Like refugees flocking to a U.N. water drop, the bumped passengers made a mad dash for the velvet ropes that funneled people to the ticket desk.
I decided to sit and wait out the chaos rather than join the fray. Through the crowd I saw a beautiful young woman waiting patiently in line. I looked again. Then again. And again.
I’m not sure why but during one of my many glances, she looked over at me and it felt like something kicked me right in the gut. I’d never experienced that feeling before but my heart raced, a rush came over me, and I quickly looked away.
I’ve tried many times to describe what I felt the first time I saw her and the best word I can summon is “googly”. According to Wikipedia, “googly” describes a type of delivery bowled by a right-arm leg spin bowler in Cricket. In my world, it’s a bundle of nervy goodness that originates in the stomach and unleashes a surge of endorphins throughout the entire body.
Every time Heather and I exchanged glances in that airport, I got all googly inside. I decided to join the line in the hopes of eventually being next to her as we snaked around the velvet ropes. When that moment came, I was too nervous to speak to her, so I mumbled something about the weather to the woman standing behind her. Heather answered my rhetorical question and the woman who unwittingly acted as my crutch was quickly discarded.
Heather and I had about 18 seconds to chat before the line started moving forward again. She was 14 people ahead of me and all I could do while standing there was hope and pray that I’d have another opportunity to speak with her. She got her ticket, turned, and walked by me while ushering a wave and a smile.
I still had to wait out another dozen people so I just watched her walk through the terminal. I was hoping for my movie moment where Heather would stop, turn, and look into my eyes. That hope died when she took a left into the airport sports bar.
I eventually had my turn at the ticket counter and when I turned around, she was there waiting. As suave as I wish I were, I could do nothing but stare and enjoy the googliness.
She asked if I wanted to watch some basketball because we had a three hour wait until our flight. In the next three hours, I fell in love with her. Not lust. Not like. Love. I couldn’t explain it if I tried so I won’t bother. But I was literally overcome.
When it came time to board we promised to meet during the layover and chat. As we boarded the plane we compared tickets, and even though she was 14 people ahead of me in line, we had been assigned seats next to each other. Destiny was undeniable.
We spoke the entire flight. We spoke during the layover. We spoke upon landing. And we spoke by telephone until 4am that same night. In the coming days, weeks, and months, we couldn’t see enough of each other. Even though we lived two hours away from each other, we made the trip several times a week.
I fell in love with Heather for so many reasons but I think what hits me hardest is knowing that she loves me for me. I could have nothing, which I did when we met, and she’d be by my side. Aside from being down to earth, loving, giving of herself, considerate, devoted, gorgeous, sexy, and fun, she puts up with me and my antics. A quality I never thought I’d find in a woman.
We met when she was 22 and she had just overcome a devastating spinal injury that left her partially paralyzed. After spinal fusion surgery and months of recovery, she was not only up and walking, but she was totally fit and active. While she lives with constant back pain, her drive is relentless and she seems to be on a mission to care for everyone before herself.
I knew I was going to marry this girl the day we met, and several years later, my dream became a reality.
When I promised to love and cherish her for all the days of my life, I knew it was a commitment I couldn’t wait to keep. When I promised to be there for her in both good times and in bad, I knew we’d have our fair share of both. And when I kissed the bride, it marked the beginning of a whole new life.
As I stood in the greeting card aisle yesterday I realized how woefully inadequate the poets of Hallmark were in my case. None was able to capture the gratitude I feel and the blessings I count on a daily basis. I didn’t want a greeting card to be my mouthpiece which is why I decided to write this post. Even if Heather is the only person to read it (and she darn well better), I’ll be happy.
In my quest for a gift, I looked up the Modern Anniversary Gift table and cringed when I saw that the 10-year mark calls for diamonds. She’s not a jewelry kind of gal (thank God) and I’m not a “let’s pay 500% markup” kind of guy, so I was thinking I’d just buy a pack of playing cards and remove all the spades, clubs, and hearts from the deck. If anything, she’d smile.
When I looked at the Traditional Anniversary Gift table I was relieved to see that it called for aluminum. Seeing how Heather is a traditional girl, a big ball of Reynolds Wrap may very well inspire some late night lovin’ for the first time in history.
In our ten years of marriage we’ve been dealt some heavy blows and experienced our fair share of heartache, disappointment, and bad luck. But I believe the measure of a marriage is how a couple enters and exits these bad times, and never did the strength of our relationship or love for one another waver. If anything, these bad times made us stronger.
She’s an amazing mother, a wonderful wife, and just an overall incredible person. She’s beautiful, inside and out, and I’m so thankful that she doesn’t realize just how awesome she really is. For if she did, she’d clearly realize that she could do a heck of a lot better than a guy who lives for sexual innuendo opportunities. I’m psyched that she’s cool slummin’ it. I give guys hope.
Truth be told, I’m the lucky one in this relationship, and I’m so thankful that fate led me to her. So many things had to go right, and so many things had to go wrong, for us to connect, and we’re living proof that the soulmate concept isn’t a fallacy.
I still get googly around Heather and I feel just as blessed to have her in my life today as I did the day we met.
When you find someone who loves you as you love them, who loves you as you want to be loved, and who loves you for who you are and not what you have, you need to treasure that person. Even more so, you need to make sure he or she knows it. I hope I’ve done this.
Heather, I thank you for everything you are and everything you do. I couldn’t imagine my life without you and I know we’ll have many more decades of anniversary celebrations to come. You aren’t just my wife and lover, you’re also my very best friend. We’ve created so many memories over the years and I can’t wait to make more.
You truly are…my Alcatraz. And even though we’re celebrating ten years of marriage, I feel like we’re just getting started.
I love you.