Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Nine Years and Nine Reasons

Tomorrow it will be nine years since Plantboy and I got married. Nine years ago today I was working frantically to get in grades on the last day of school for my first teaching job. I was so green that I was actually still taking work and grading it that day. Besides getting all the grades in, I had to leave a spotless room because I was changing jobs as well. Oh, and it rained all week, ruining any chance for the outdoor reception Plantboy and my mother had spent untold hours on. The temperature also plummeted to the 40's. Very unseasonable for the first week of June. I remember taking the hour ride to the temple where we were getting married with my parents--Plantboy was coming from another direction and we were meeting there--shivering in my summer dress, snapping at anyone who looked at me wrong, feeling so nervous I wanted to throw up and fighting the tears the whole way.

Hm . . . . probably not the way most people describe their emotional state as they head toward marital bliss, right?

I was exhausted and overworked; I had only spent a couple of days with Plantboy in the month previous because he was working in another state; the weather was a huge blow to our plans; I had just said goodbye to a job and a group of students that I absolutely loved; I was about to spend the summer living with my in-laws whom I hardly knew in another state . . . I suppose that there were definite reasons for my near breakdown the morning I got married.

But it wasn't until I walked into the foyer at the Logan temple that I really knew the source of the anxiety, which mounted and mounted until I actually saw him walk in--about two minutes after we did. He gave me a big hug and I immediately relaxed. I said to him, "You came." He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Of course." I think in some corner of my mind, I really didn't think that marriage would be a part of my life. I wasn't that old, even, but for those who didn't know me in the 18 months leading up to my marriage, I was pretty much an emotional train wreck a lot of the time: maybe there were too many beginnings and endings and heartbreaks in too short of time for me to be entirely stable.

When we were married, the man who sealed us said that part of the symbolism of the altar in marriage ceremony is that we lay down all we have and are for the sake of the union. A true marriage is an act of sacrifice. He said a lot of other great things, that I'm sure were very useful, but it was that part about sacrifice that has stayed with me these nine years. I've learned that sacrifice brings amazing blessings.

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of joy and sensation and yes, exhaustion. The third day of our honeymoon, I told Plantboy that I was going to take a "short" nap. He woke me up five hours later, no doubt wondering if I had entered some kind of alternative universe from which I'd never return. The whole first year of marriage was a little unsettling for me. I had been on my own and independent long enough that adjusting to the new "we" consciousness was a slow learning curve for me.

People talk about the "honeymoon" phase being the earliest part of a relationship and/or marriage. For me, however, I really believe that Plantboy and I finally hit our stride in the summer of 2005. I'm not exactly sure what changed, but since then we have been amazingly happy together. Even when things have been difficult, they are not difficult between us. As a youngish 20-something it was so easy for me to imagine myself being alone, but instead I was blessed to marry a man I'm still so in love with that at times it makes my heart ache for the joy of it. So, here it is,

Nine Reasons I Love Being Married to Plantboy

1. He can never keep the whole truth from me, even if he is trying to tease or surprise me. I can just read him too well.

2. Our favorite dating memory is of cuddling in a sleeping bag under the stars in Logan Canyon. We were way too unmarried to be there (I'm smarter now that it doesn't matter any more), but Plantboy was a perfect gentleman, keeping his hands and yes, his lips to himself while we talked for hours. Though I didn't admit it until several weeks afterward, that was the night I fell in love with him.

3. From the very beginning I always knew where I stood with him. In all the years I had dated (and not dated), I had never known a boy that was crazy about me from the moment he met me. Once I got past the feeling that he was human crazy glue, I knew that I was happy to not play games anymore and just know how somebody felt. Even now, I catch him looking at me sometimes and I know that time has not diminished his sincere and tender attachment.

4. His eyes. Oh yikes. I've never seen eyes as fantastic as his. (Except maybe me oldest son's!) When his optometrist told him that he may not be a great candidate for Lasic, I was secretly happy. I'm afraid that if he starts going around without his glasses on, women will start chatting him up in all kinds of random places whether he is with me or not.

5. Though he is beginning to gray and will probably be totally gray by the time he is 40, I'm just shallow enough to love that he still has a full head of thick hair and probably always will (as did his maternal grandfather). The irony is that every other guy I ever dated or was attracted to was losing his hair: they are probably all bald now.

6. I've never known a man (at least one who was straight and LDS) who loves the natural world the way Plantboy does. I love that our idea of the perfect vacation is to get as far away as possible from other people and look at God's creations. And when we hike or just drive around and I see plants or flowers or shrubs that I love, he can nearly always tell me the common and sometimes scientific name of what I'm looking at.

7. He is a great home teacher.

8. He is willing to listen to the other side of an argument before forming an opinion. We both like to read TNY, National Geographic and listen to NPR: we never run out of real things to talk about.

9. He loves our kids. When he spends time with them, he is NOT babysitting. He is parenting. We nearly always see eye to eye in our approach to raising kids and if one of us is grouchy and short of patience, the other can easily step in. He never acts like he's doing me a great favor when he takes the kids with him to the store or stays home so I can go alone.

I love this man with my whole heart. And, a year from now, I'm sure it will not be hard for me to come up with ten new ones. If you are lactose intolerant, you may want to skip the cheese next year.


Janssen said...

What a beautiful post. Happy Anniversary!

FoxyJ said...

Congrats on 9 years! Beautiful pictures...

Desmama said...

Happy anniversary. Very nice post.

Yankee Girl said...

Congratulations on 9 years.

Girly Momma said...

so super cute. you really are a good writer. you put everything down so poetically (sp??) that it is so nice to read. love the wedding day jitters. i wish i could remember stuff the sealer said on our wedding day. i just remember looking at jake.

Dickey said...

What a great story....I love the photos. You both look like teenagers. Happy Anniversary!

Anonymous said...

You should add the other side of your wedding day - the story of how Jeff had to sleep in a hotel room with his sister, brother in law and their 3 kids and the brother in law snored so loud that Jeff ended up trying to sleep in the car - needless to say he didn't get much sleep that night.
Your post brought tears to my eyes - that is my sweet baby brother you were talking about.

Z. Marie said...

Love the photos! And it's amazing to me you can remember that much detail!


Totally fantastic pictures!! Congratulations on 9 years.

Rainie said...

Congratulations!! I love the pictures. I'm so happy for you guys.

Slyck and Slim said...

I AM lactose intolerant for reals, but that cheese was quite a nice read. Yeah for 9 years!

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

Congratulations. I'm glad you found a good man who matches you so well.