Today marks my 12th year of marriage. It’s our Silk Anniversary, according to those who would use our partnership milestone as a marketing opportunity for personal commercial gain.
My wife is quirky – her mind runs at a mile a minute, and sometimes she can’t stop herself from analyzing a problem. She’s a perpetual optimizer and a master logistician. She will plan out a single car trip to coordinate runs to the library, pharmacy and dry cleaner for maximum efficiency.
A decade ago, just prior to starting a family, she had an idea for a consulting business. She took work that she’d loved but had gone unremunerated in her prior academic job – mentoring residents and medical students – and found a way to create a job around it. The business she built has grown into her primary source of earned income, accounting for more than her shifts in the ED.
For reasons that defy explanation, she is a huge Barry Manilow fan. Several years ago, on a trip to Vegas, I surprised her with tickets to Manilow’s long-running show at the Paris Hotel. As we entered, I asked one of the ushers if we were the youngest people attending the concert.
Usher: Who didn’t come with their parents? Yes.
The crazy cat lady who sat next to us at the show was seeing Barry in concert for the tenth time. She reminded me of Kathy Bates in Misery, a superfan who relished knowing the layout of Barry Manilow’s home and could describe his favorite foods in detail. The type you aren’t surprised to learn had a dead body in her trunk on reading the next day’s paper.
I love that my wife knows what she likes, and is unafraid to own it. If that puts her in league with crazy cat ladies? So be it, and pass the Tender Vittles.
I grew up and went to high school and college alongside two older female cousins who were one and two years ahead of me, respectively. They are functionally my older sisters. Shortly after we had our first child, my cousins tried endearing themselves to my wife with a practiced men-are-from-Mars routine that went something like this:
Cousin #1: Ugh, my husband is useless at home. He never cooks a meal and won’t clean a dish.
Wife: Actually, ______ does most of the cooking for us when he’s not working a shift. He’s definitely a better cook than I am.
Cousin #2: My husband is worse. He sits watching TV while I get the kids ready for dinner. I should have married that super-organized lesbian friend from law school. Then at least I’d get some help around the house.
Wife: To be honest, ______ is a very hands on father. There are some days when he’ll work a ten hour shift and come home to take our daughter off my hands so I can go work out or clear my head. He’s pretty good about giving me a break when I need one.
Cousin #1, miffed at making no headway: You know something? You two are weird in the same way.
Last night I was trying to remember what my life was like before we met. It took some time to recall. It’s hard to remember monochrome after spending over a decade seeing the world in vivid color. It’s also hard to recall what it was like to struggle to make yourself understood when you spend most of your time around someone who reads you better than you can read yourself.
She’s brighter, more attractive, highly entrepreneurial, compulsively organized, and at any given moment she keeps our household from bursting into flames.
But don’t tell her that – I’ve fooled her into thinking she came out ahead marrying me.
Thank you for twelve amazing years.