Sunday, August 18, 2013

Half my life

My husband is pretty terrific.  I say all the time that I definitely “married up.”  We had our anniversary earlier this month, and marked 18 years.  I was not feeling well that night, so we postponed having a date.  Most things that we have postponed over the past two years have simply been tabled, so I am really glad that we had the opportunity to go out, just the two of us, for the evening last night.
Generally, we would have gone out to dinner at a nice restaurant, or tried to get away for the weekend.  With four children, it is a challenge to take a trip together.  Getting away has been a challenge for the last 15 years, but more so now than ever because the kid’s activities and other considerations are so much greater.

Dan decided to go ‘old school’ and take me back to where it all began.  We met in college and so, he took me back to Kent.   Anticipating  feeling old, and perhaps a little out of place, Dan said that he was fairly sure that he would not get into a fight, but if some young punk asked if he was at the May 4th shooting in 1970, all bets were off.  I might have mentioned that I married Dan because he makes me laugh.
There is much about the campus that has changed, as you might imagine.  It is much prettier than I remember.  There are buildings that have been constructed in the past 20 years, which are an asset to the university.  Likely, there are students there who cannot conceive of a time when they weren’t there, filling up those spaces that were empty when Dan and I were young. 

They reworked the plaza in front of the student center (I remember it being a really horrible space) and when we were there, they had a free concert-big band.  We sat, enjoyed the music and the lovely weather and had the opportunity to talk, which was much better than the wine that they served.  It was really wonderful.

We walked the campus, recalling the beginnings of our life together.  It was different back then, and much, much simpler.  What we had imagined for our lives was not this, certainly, because who would dream this up?  (I joke that if I were ever to write a book about it, they might shelve it among the fiction titles) 
We went into town, and stopped at a couple of our old haunts, those that are still in business. At ‘The Loft,’ we walked in and I was shocked at how nothing had changed.  Sitting at the bar, I was bewildered at how we were transported back twenty years.  We used to go there to have three dollar pizza and beer on a cheap date.   Dan teased that he feared ordering one now, because the crowd might go silent, music off, all eyes turned on him….before they burst into laughter, because maybe they haven’t served pizza in a decade.  He ordered two beers instead.

Looking around, just taken with it all, I exclaimed, “Nothing has changed!”
Putting down the two drafts, the bartender says, “That will be seven dollars.”

Dan turned to me, laughing.  Some things had changed.

We stopped for another drink at a place that was spatially familiar, but the name was off.  We couldn’t remember what it had been called.  I asked the bartender if he knew what it had been called before it was Dominick’s.  Eyes bugging, he said that it was called the Town Tavern, like 22 years ago.  Then, shaking his head, he said that he was aging himself more than us.  Yeah, we are all getting old.
We stopped to get something to eat at Rays.  We talked about our future, and the medical things that we need to finish up in the next couple of weeks:  The very last hoops to jump through before we are on ‘LFS maintenance,’ as I like to call the fishing expedition that we do every 3 months.  I am anxious to finish these last things, and be cleared for a while.  Dan and I never talked about multiple geneticists in Rays before, pretty certain of that. 

Our lives have changed over the years, and like the university campus, the empty spaces have been filled. We have built this life and built our family which, admittedly, has not always been easy. However, no large project advances without a problem.  As an architect, Dan has taken particular pride in those that are 'on time and under budget."  I am pretty sure that we are neither of those at this point.  I do feel that a good product results from creative solutions.  I am grateful for Dan's creativity in our family.
I do not imagine that I will ever end up in academia as I had once planned.  Of our plans, I often say “We plan, and God laughs.”  With Dan next to me, at least God isn’t the only one laughing, which makes the hard parts and the detours easier to deal with. 
What I can say with certainty though, it that all these years later, and despite all of the challenges, this life is better, and far more beautiful than the one I started with.  I have now spent half my life with Dan.  I credit him with the improvement.

1 comment:

  1. Happy anniversary!! These men we find who walk this journey with us, through thick & thin, with laughter to share, makes even the hard times beautiful in their own way. Celebrated 25 years with mine just recently, having passed the half-my-life mark 5 years ago, and it just keeps getting better. Cheers to you both!