Friday, May 30, 2008

He was Tall, Which was Good

I met Steve when I was 17.

He was tall, which was good, because standing next to him made my 5 feet 9 inches feel a bit more like the petite girls that I always eyed a bit enviously at my small Christian high school. He wore an old, ratty Gus Macker basketball tournament t-shirt 5 days out of 7. His hair he cut short, about a half inch long, to spite his natural curls.

He went to college in Glamorous and Far Away California and owned the role of Brooding English Major. He was moving to Germany for a year.

He intrigued me.

Two years later, I was in college in a cornfield in Indiana, and he was back from Germany, finishing his Brooding English Major gig. Email, in DOS format, had arrived in our computer labs. We emailed. He also started writing me letters-- the real kind, on college ruled paper with a black pen. Long letters, full of philosophy and stories and angst and humor. When he wrote, he pressed his pen so firmly into the paper that it left indentations on the next two pages, and his letters become as much about the texture as anything else. His handwriting was atrocious, almost illegible, so that I had to read and re-read to ensure that I read correctly. I can still remember opening my mailbox in the commons area, the smell of coffee and fake nacho cheese in the background, my heart beating just a bit faster as I checked to see if one of the thick envelopes was resting in the space. I loved him for those letters. I wrote back, hoping my stream of consciousness scrawlings would be enough to hold his attention.

We dated, long-distance, for almost 4 years. California/Indiana, Indiana/Michigan, Indiana/Other Parts of Indiana. We saw each other on weekends and breaks and whenever we could. I don't remember as much of college as I should; I was thinking of him and how he was where I wasn't.

He made payments on my engagement ring with the money he made from selling plasma.

We married as soon as was possible-- three weeks after I graduated college and two weeks after he completed his second year of law school. We lived in a $450/month apartment, which turned out to be 100 feet away from a railroad crossing. When the hourly trains came through, the noise and the horn were so deafening that we had to pause in our conversation and let it pass, resuming when the noise faded. I worked nights in the local hospital; he studied through law school and graduated with honors.

We moved back to Michigan, and Chloe was born not long after. I quit work to care for her; he worked all the harder to care for her.

It was not a surprise when he told me that he didn't think law was going to work for him long-term. I knew him well enough by then to know that his heart and his mind loved something different than law.

We talked and we prayed.
We talked and we prayed.

He went back to school --seminary. I went back to work. Jonathan came, and we were four. The years of seminary passed by quickly. It was a strange, limbo time in our lives. Goals and values re-examined. Faith enriched. Grace embraced. Lessons learned, over and over. Steve was a full time student, worked 20-40 hours a week, and cared for the children often. He was a rock.

The move to the city came almost two years ago. We told the kids to climb on our backs, we clasped hands, and we jumped. Wouldn't you, if you knew that was to be the next chapter in the story God (who loves you more than you can ever dream or imagine) has laid out for your life?

This day, Steve and I have been married 10 years.
I know him, I love him.
He still intrigues me.


Marissa said...

....mmmmm...that was lovely. And let me be the first to wish the two of you a very happy anniversary! Wow, ten years can fly by pretty quickly. Good thing you've packed 'em to the brim!

Anonymous said...

I cried. Mom P.

Amy and Scott said...

Love it. Love you. Happy Anniversary!

Laurie said...

I feel as if Happy Anniversary is not quite poetic enough to say back to you after that post.

Happy Anniversary anyway.

Anonymous said...

what a lovely gift to him, to read how you love him.....lovely~
and I too, cried.
anne marie
max's mom

Anonymous said...

that story rocks.
happy anniv, new yorkers.

Ava Ligh said...

happy anniversary!

miss you wolmas lots,

chelle said...

beautiful words, D. A nice trip down memory lane. I'm so glad to have experienced some of it with you!

I was envious of those short, petite girls too. :)

holly said...

I too remember your joy over reading Steve's letters. 10 years. . . what could be in store for the next ten?? God blessings on your anniversary.

nikki said...

Happy Anniversary kids!!
10 down, plenty to go. Have fun with everyone of those years.


Lorraine said...

Oh, late to the party but what a fine tribute to your husband and your marriage...heartfelt congratulations!

Beca said...

first, i have to say that i don't even know you. i somehow got to your blog through about 5 other people's blogs, following link by link. what an inspiring story. i have been married for 12 years and have a 5 yr old son and 1 yr old twin boys. what you have with your husband is truly unique. the relationship you describe is not something that occurs often, god has blessed you. congrats!

Anonymous said...

What a great story! You guys have been on such an incredible journey together. Thanks for sharing. Happy Anniversay!! Missy