An Experiment in Transitions

Written by Emily

Life with my husband has been an experiment in transitions. Here’s the recap in light of our dear Amelia’s upcoming wedding.

I met him in middle school. Our paths didn’t cross much. I was from the “other side of the tracks” so to speak, the opposite end of a school district that wrapped its gluttonous paws around a lot of country roads and cul-de-sacs and small towns until it took its inhabitants years to travel from one end to the other. We didn’t notice each other even though we probably had a few classes together, and I’m sure he bumped into me while I was a hall monitor (insert: coolest kid ever). I would not have felt it much if he had as I outweighed him at that point by at least 10 pounds.

In high school, I wore boy’s jeans and ironic t-shirts about SPAM that were two sizes too big. I sported braided pig tails, chunky boots and my dad’s old plaid shirts. He was “best dressed.” Perhaps he thought my weird fashion sense was endearing.

We had our first date on a rocky bluff overlooking the lights of far-away towns. It was perfect. I gave him my tan corduroy jacket on our way down the mountain. I still outweighed him — okay, maybe not — and I was wearing my dad’s flannel. He had not dressed so pragmatically. He was, after all, “best-dressed.”

I loved him in a weird high school kid kind of way. I had a crush on him really. Rather than kiss him when he picked me up at my house, I punched him in the shoulder and smiled, while my great aunt, who lived with me, cooked a variety of the stinkiest foods, making each pick-up even more awkward. “Really, that smell is salmon, not me.” “Honestly, my jacket reeks of lamb chops fried in butter, not my pheromones.”

As a love-struck teen, I had a physical reaction every time he was near me. Every time I thought about him, my body felt like it was on fire. It was amazing.

We went to college. Separation was hard, but we grew closer all the time until I was able to visit him from my rural institution to his city one in my great aunt’s 1981 Cadillac with blue and white leather bench seats and her initials in gold on the dash. He surprised me with visits on the bus. I surprised him. I lived for the weekends when we could see one another. My body felt like it was on fire. It was amazing.

We grew up. College came to an end. I moved back home while I worked as a long-term substitute. He worked in the city at a PR firm. I drove to see him because, well, I lived at home. The weekends were terrific–lounging around together, walking hand-in-hand everywhere, eating at swanky restaurants, dressing up for nights on the town, lounging some more. I loved him–for real.

And then because he loved me, too, he proposed and I said, “YES!” I probably punched him in the shoulder because I really hadn’t changed that much. Although I had stopped wearing my dad’s flannel shirts in public.

The wedding was the best party we ever attended. I couldn’t stop smiling. The best man delivered a speech I will never forget. The honeymoon was perfection (aside from the short stint at an eco-resort infested with insects that made my new husband their personal all-you-can eat buffet).

And then life set in. He had to work. I had to work. Monday through Friday there was no lounging around. There was no hand-in-hand everywhere. There were very few swanky dinners. He commuted far. I worked on my master’s degree. We passed each other in the hall before I collapsed into bed. We clung to the weekends, but the transition from attention-every-minute-we’re-together to grown-up life was a bit jarring at first.

We’ve been married for nine years. We’ve been together for fifteen years. We’ve helped each other grow up.  And now we have three incredible children. Through pimples and awkwardness to career changes and new babies, we still like each other–a lot. For a long time, though, I chased that fire, that warm sensation that coursed through my system and made me feel more alive just being near him. I lamented its fading.

What happened next, though, has been even better. It’s a calm after the storm of wacky hormonal emotions–after the pubescent crush, college lust, newlywed identity crisis. It’s a comfortable peace that comes with falling into step with another human being, a human being who has promised that no matter how strange things get, no matter how gross (because let’s face it, human beings can be foul), that no matter what hurdles life has in store, he chooses to be near. He wants to be near, and I desperately want the same.

We have been in love for long time, almost half of our lives and all of our adult lives. We’ve always had the love thing down. On July 12, 2003, we made a promise. And every now and again, when he turns the corner and I look up, my body feels like it’s on fire. And it’s amazing.

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Categories: Emily, Family

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14 replies

  1. LOVE! It’s amazing how much we have in common. The more I learn about you, the more I see how much we and our lives are alike! Well, except for the whole fashion thing…I never really fixed that entirely. Lololol! 🙂

  2. What a beautiful story, Emily. It nicely captures the transitions that couples go through!

  3. I remember vividly those shoulder punching “embraces”! You two have built a beautiful life together based on love and mutual respect.

  4. The descriptions of yourself in high school and the lamb chop comment cracked me up!!! Thanks for sharing your story…made me reflect on my own love story :). Thank God for marriage, huh?

  5. Such a beautiful and fun reflection on the myriad of change that a relationship takes over the years. Josh and I are celebrating our 9th anniversary on June 27th. Your story really hit home for me…thanks for sharing. BTW, I wore my Gap flannels with Jenco skater pants and Doc Martin’s…I was such a poser!

  6. So encouraging Emily, and so familiar somehow…except when I met Anthony in high school, I wasn’t cool enough with myself to wear flannel other than in the woods. So sad. Anyway, I love how you point out that just because the fire all over feeling is fading, doesn’t mean you’re not in love. I think a lot of people get tripped up over that. And Sunday is six years for us!!!! Together 12. =)

    • Oh, Patty! Thank you for reading! Congratulations on your up-coming anniversary! And you had a long dating period, too! I’m sure you know each other inside and out 🙂 It’s amazing how much we change but end up growing toward each other. It’s a wonderful thing!

  7. You have a really nice voice, Emily. It’s so easy to read what you write — like having a convo with you. (And it’s a good romance, too.)

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