I met my husband at a wedding. It’s actually much more complicated than that, but that my friends, is a story for another blog entirely. It was the wedding of the little sister of my girfriend Eh. I was so tired of going to weddings alone. Those of you who are single, or who got married later, you know what I’m talking about. I was tired of buying gifts…alone. Figuring out what to wear…alone. Last minute card shopping…alone. Figuring out where to sit in the church…alone. Looking around at what everyone else is wearing (and realizing you’re way over dressed…AGAIN)…alone. Driving to the reception…alone. And making your way through cocktail hour, dinner, and everything else…ALONE. On this particular day I was wearing a fabulous BCBG party dress and ridiculously amazing shoes (what he says attracted him in the first place). Some guests were wearing jeans. I will always contend that a wedding is an event for which you dress-up…regardless of the attire of other guests…but at this wedding it irritated me that I was more dressed up than anyone not in the wedding party.
Because I’ve known Eh since I was 12 her family feels like family. There were plenty of people with whom I could socialize. For the ceremony I sat with her younger cousin, who is ten years my junior, and spent the time trying to convince me I should be his sugar momma. I drove to the reception and there was lag time between my arrival and the arrival of family members with whom I would sit. I knew I was sitting with Eh’s husband D and the cousins of the groom who I’d met before. I did what any respectable single girl who was alone would do…I started drinking. On my second (maybe third) trip to the bar I ran into my husband. I’d met him before and had heard that he’d not only had a tough divorce but that he’d taken it incredibly hard. I approached him cautiously, re-introduced myself, and said in an empathetic tone “how are you doing?” He looked at me like I was crazy and responded “ummm…fine? How are you?” ‘Hmmm…apparently not willing to show how much he’s suffering’ I thought to myself. We continued to talk for a bit and then the people I knew started to arrive and I went back to spending my time with them.
This wedding was during a time when I was in my hayday. I was working 50-60 hour weeks, looked great, lived in a condo that I owned, and felt like I was on top of the world. When I sat down at my table Eh’s husband D said “that guy WANTS YOU.” It may have been true, but he’d have to work a lot harder than he had thus far, so I shrugged it off. In the mean time, some of the groomsmen joined our table and started making statements like “you’re coming back to my room tonight” and “I know where you’ll be later.” Yeah. Like THAT’S going to work. Idiots.
As the evening progressed my husband continued to try to woo me. We danced (he is a remarkable dancer), he bought me drinks (i.e. got me drunk), he chatted with the people I knew (without an ounce of reservation), and I kept telling Eh that this was, absolutely, 100%, for certain, a BAD idea. After the reception was over a group of us decided to head out to a bar and my husband tagged along. We spent the night talking. After the bar closed we texted throughout the rest of the night. And all day on Sunday. And we scheduled our first date for Monday, where he pulled out all the stops. And literally…we’ve not been apart more than maybe an accumulative ten days since.
When I met my husband I had an idea in my head about the kind of man I wanted to marry. Simply put, it was Mr. Big from Sex and the City. In fact, old co-workers had given me a framed picture of Mr. Big, and I had it amongst other pictures of family and friends on a shelf in my condo when I met my husband . I was looking for an overly successful, tall, dark, and handsome, man’s man. One who would put me in place if necessary (I can be a teensy bit ridiculous from time to time). One who was smart and strong and could take care of me (not that I couldn’t and/or wouldn’t take care of myself). And one who could afford to take me to Paris and London and anywhere else my heart desired. One with whom I could share adventures, share successes, and be partners in crime.
My husband had…how do I put this kindly…baggage (I am NOT including the little girls in what I consider baggage). He wasn’t sure he’d ever want more children. He wasn’t rolling in dough as a result of his divorce. He wasn’t jetting around the world doing real estate deals. He could only see me on certain days. He was not, to be perfectly honest, at all what I was looking for. And likely not, to be even more honest, what my parents were looking for. But he was funny, and kind, and sweet, and took care of me, and struck a perfect balance of putting up with my ridiculousness but not letting me get away with anything I shouldn’t (I have the ability to steamroll people). And I adored him.
We got engaged and then a whole lot of heartbreak transpired, and while our wedding was everything we wanted it to be, it was a very difficult day. As was the entire first year of marriage. He got really really angry and I didn’t (and still don’t) know what to do with angry. And we had to deal with people with whom we weren’t particularly interested in dealing. And we had to deal with issues with which we should never have had to deal. And it was truly awful.
But we made it through and the past year has offered reminder, after reminder, after reminder of why we are good together. And why he is a phenomenal partner (offering more than this example would make this already too long post much much longer).
As I’ve mentioned this birthday has been harder for me to get my head around. I LOVE birthdays. I expect a lot out of those around me to help me celebrate. And I do my best to provide excitement and celebration for those I love on THEIR birthdays. When I met my husband he was not a birthday guy. Not at all. I planned surprise parties for him, bought him elaborate gifts, planned family celebrations. This year he has been more excited for my birthday than I have. He’s been teasing me all week about my gift, which normally I would love, but this year I’ve felt completely ambivalent. Thursday he tried to get me to see the bag and even though I turned around (wanting to save it for my birthday) he proudly announced “I know you saw it was a Burberry bag.” Ummm…I’m sorry…what?! Then Ess started texting that she knew what I was getting. Then Friday, he brought the bag into the restaurant at which we were meeting his parents for dinner. I said “I don’t want to open it yet!!!” So he brought it back out to his car, defeated. It became clear that he was too excited to wait for MY birthday so I opened it this morning. A merino wool wrap because, as he said, “you’re cold every single day in your office so now you can wear this to keep warm.” Sweet. Jesus. This man. Who thinks of things like this?!
When we were first dating and were struggling with external challenges that come with a man who has been married before, he would often tell me that I could do better. When we were struggling in our first year of marriage he told me I could do better. But what I’ve realized after all this time (and as I type wrapped in the wamest/softest/fanciest/made in Scotland wrap) is that I did in fact marry Mr. Big. My very own Mr. Big. Abso-fucking-lutely.
TODAY: What if what you thought you wanted isn’t what you need? What if you have exactly what you’re supposed to have?
PS – For the record, I fully expect that my husband (my very own future real estate mogul) will someday be taking me around the world regularly, you just wait and see!