It’s our 22nd anniversary this weekend. 22 YEARS. What – the – HELL.
I don’t even know how I can be that old, much less married that long.
I remember as a teen wondering if I’d even know true love if it slapped me upside the head… I just assumed I’d “get it” one day (hahaha, I said “get it”) (sorry, can’t help it)…
I just assumed that whatever happens to people who are in love would maybe, perhaps “happen” to me.
I had the same thinking about “being an adult” and “having wisdom” and “being responsible.” I know now that, more often than not, adults are faking it ‘til they make it. There’s no magic moment of clarity, but rather fits and starts, gradual evolution, a series of learning from mistakes, and learning what makes things better and what makes things worse.
Those of you who’ve known me a long time know I don’t stick with many things for long (sorry). It’s not you, it’s me. I have a short attention span combined with a desire to do wayyyy more things than this short life will allow. I’m a ‘get in, ALL in, get sated, get out’ kinda girl. I used to see it as a fault. Now I just see it as “what is.”
If I DO stick with something for longer than a span of a few years, you better damn well believe it is for all the right reasons. That it feeds me in a way that I cannot be without.
Rob is one of those things.
And frankly, that surprises the shit out of me.
Don’t think my mind hasn’t wandered off to “what if” land over and over again…. We had an unexpected, and hence rocky, beginning. Tossed, naively, (and yes, our fault) into the forever-connection that is parenthood, and therefore forced to very quickly examine what that would mean for our relationship.
And we decided to keep not only the baby (wave to the people, Brady!) but each other too.
But don’t think I didn’t want to run. Often.
It was knowing I had the choice to leave that allowed me to stay. Ask my mom, I don’t take well to being forced to do something I don’t want to do. I will have the last word. Things will be on my terms.
I’m a real peach to live with, you can imagine.
Alas, I never left. Within every struggle of my yearning to be free was a moment of deep knowing that no matter how angry I felt, or how trapped, or how restrained, I was never in the wrong place. I was in the right place. I just had to grow the hell up and admit it.
And something happened the other day that very simply demonstrated one of the things about Rob that keeps me around…
Last summer, we met an old hippie woman (she’d call herself that) at a dinner party, and when she learned that Rob is an investment advisor, she bent his ear the rest of the night, talking about clean water and green energy and all her fiery beliefs that unless something shifts in our world view regarding conservation, we’re going down with the melting icebergs. (She’s probably right.)
She wanted to continue her dialogue with Rob, even though she has next to no money to actually invest in these things she so fervently wants to support.
And being an old hippie woman, she has neither computer, cell phone, nor TV, and therefore no way to correspond except by letter. You know, the kind you write? And mail?
And so she writes letters to Rob. Lengthy, handwritten letters on spiral notebook paper, sometimes written over the span of days, neatly marked and dated as such, with explanations as to why she might be continuing a thought or amending her own thinking in that short time.
One arrived just last week.
It’s so f*cking quaint it kills me. But what’s so powerful about it is that Rob writes back.
He writes letters to an old hippie woman who has no money to invest, is unlikely to refer anyone as clients, who is of no real benefit to his business whatsoever but of great benefit to his integrity and humanity.
My marriage was saved by a goddamn old hippie woman. (Note to self: potential title for auto-biography)
It reminds me, too, of Rob’s very first insurance client, 11 years ago. Another old woman, who lived alone, and made him cookies whenever he went there for appointments, which was often. He didn’t go there frequently because her simple home insurance policy was complicated or needed constant tending. He went there frequently because she called with questions, because she didn’t understand insurance.
Because she was lonely.
He could’ve easily brushed her off. Her basic questions could’ve been easily handled by the office support staff.
But he went. Probably for the cookies, yes.
Or maybe to save his marriage.
He might not have ever known it was those tiny things that kept me here when I wanted to flee. But it was.
And while I originally meant to share this story to illustrate the kind of guy who’d be working for you if you invest with his company, I decided it could be our love story instead.
Those of you who know I don’t stick with things for long… you probably also know that all this mushy talk makes me super twitchy.
So enough about that. I need to go do some burpees or haul some firewood or yell at my dog or something; toughen up a little lest I lose my hard-ass, tough-girl reputation.
Happy Anniversary, Rob – you big nerd. Don’t think this doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. (Also, I love you.)