Brian and I recently celebrated seventeen years of marriage. Given that we met three years before our wedding day, we now have a shared history of twenty years. While some events stand out in my mind as clear markers of our life together, others have faded in my memory as each day of daily life blends into the next.
It makes me wish I had taken more pictures.
I was a single mom when we met, intent on getting myself through college and scrambling to make enough money to pay my bills each month. Brian worked for an artist friend of mine who was successfully running a wholesale pottery business from her home. Occasionally, I would stop to visit her, and I’d see him working in the back yard. He was a shadowy background figure, quietly pouring slip into pottery molds or spray painting newly fired pieces while I chatted with Katy. He’d have mud and paint on his clothes, and strands of his dark hair would be sliding out of his ponytail and sticking to his face as he worked in the sun. Meanwhile, I’d be inside drinking iced tea and laughing with my friend. My only acknowledgement of him in those days was a wave and a casual hello, and I doubt he thought too much about me, except perhaps to wish that he could join us in conversation instead of working outside in the heat of the day.
That changed over the next year as Brian became a welcome addition to my circle of my friends. Because of our shared acquaintance, he turned up at all the same parties and get-togethers. Before long, he knew both my sisters and had met my parents. We weren’t “dating,” but every event ended with us laughing and hanging out together. We were an unbeatable team at the cribbage card table. I would convince him to let me wear his hat or the trademark vest he always donned over his t-shirts, and on cool summer evenings he would give me his jacket while we sat outside to count the stars and talk until the early morning hours.
Despite our obvious connection, I was still flustered when Brian cornered me in the midst of an impromptu gathering of friends to proclaim his romantic intentions. “Start dating me, and I will always treat you like the goddess that you are,” he promised, and I blushed in surprise. I slipped away, laughing and teasing him for daring to use such a bad come on. But the truth was – it worked. I was smitten. It was obvious to everyone around us that we would end up together; they only wondered what was taking us so long.
I’m no longer a poor college student, and I don’t have to bear the weight of parenting alone anymore. Brian has long since cut his ponytail, and he quit wearing those funky vests more than a decade ago. We spend less time at parties and more time at home. We don’t stay up until 4:00 am just talking about life anymore; instead we finish each other’s sentences and can converse using nothing but quotes from movies we have seen together. We’ve had our share of trials and heartache, but with God’s grace we’ve managed to survive them and emerge stronger than before.
There is one thing that remains the same, and I hope it always will: We’re still as crazy for each other as we were the day he chased me around my sister’s kitchen, cornered me against a rack of cookbooks, and proposed that we start a romance together.
We might be even crazier.