I always looked at my parents and saw what I wanted. They're just so damn cute. My mom still gazes at my father like they're back in college, and she's just a lovesick Freshman. They still really love one another. They still enjoy each other's company. They go out on little dates, now that my brother and I are older and gone. They laugh together. They're just a really awesome couple. I'm proud to call them my parents, and I'm proud of the life they've built together. It's incredible, an imposing standard set, to have a relationship as good as theirs. I can't believe that, thirty-four years ago today they were walking down an aisle in a little church in Kentucky. My dad, who went without wearing his military uniform out of respect for my mom's father, and my mom, with daisies stuck in her 1970s 'do, exchanged vows in front of their families and God. And here they are now, older and wiser, and still in love. It's pretty amazing.
Speaking of ANNIVERSARIES, let's look at my post from August 4, 2005:
What Not To Wear
Tonight, I went to the mall and left about a million slinky shirts in my wake. They are all of the same variety - soft fabrics, cut low - but none of them were right.
The sales girl in the final store I visited, bless her heart, did her best to supply me with what she thought I would like: "I'm looking for something simple, classy...A little sexy, but not too dressy or, you know, va-va-voom," was what I'd told her. And she listened. She brought me creamy satins sheaths that tied in the middle of my back, lacy spaghetti-strapped numbers, silky halter tops cut to reveal just enough cleavage. But none of them seemed to fit what I was going for. They all screamed either Stuffy! or Slutty!; Desperate! or Back off! None of them whispered sophisticated, or sultry. And, more important than that, none of them said "I'm the kind of girl you want to date, not the kind of girl you want to bang." So I left the mall, three hours after walking in, with a really great pair of pants and two mediocre shirts. (The pants I love, but the shirts I bought hoping that maybe they'd look better once I got them home and tried them on with the right bra. And, honestly, I felt like I had to buy something, since the girl had been so nice.) And after all that trying on, I'm still not satisfied. I'm stressing myself out over a shirt.
But here's the thing: I know I'm making a huge deal out of nothing. I know that no shirt is going to say more than I will. I could probably show up in a t-shirt and ratty jeans and be either liked or loathed depending on what I say. But I can't help myself...
I'm going on a date. With a boy that I actually picked out myself.
And I am excited. And, honestly, a little nervous.
And when I get nervous, I fret over what to wear. Fret is probably the wrong word. Obsess. That's more like it.
So know this: Tomorrow, while I'm "working," I will really be running through a mental fashion show of every single, solitary shirt in my closet. And I will continue doing that until I have to choice but to wear something, anything and go.
Wish me luck.
We decided, a long time ago, that we'd just set our proverbial stake in the relationship ground at the very first date, seeing as we were with each other every day since then. And, so, I can't believe that tomorrow marks a year since my first date with Billy. Which means we'll be celebrating our first anniversary tomorrow night, and I'll be all gooey and romantic and he'll indulge my girly tendencies and let me get misty and reflect on everything that has happened since August 5, 2005.
In our year of dating, we've been through a lot. We've survived family tragedy, we've survived surgery, my health issues, we've survived my first backpacking trip, we've survived a robbery, we've laughed our way through difficulty, we've transitioned nicely into a couple that lives together. We have a nice balance, he and I. I feel blessed.
Back then, a year ago, I wasn't anticipating making it this long. I really wasn't expecting to be in a fulfilling relationship with him now. I thought we'd date for a few months, then we'd go our respective ways. He shocked me and became exactly the man, the boyfriend, I wished for. Which is why I'm so furiously excited about tomorrow.
This morning, as I was getting ready to leave for work, I kissed Billy goodbye while he stood in his dress shirt and pants in the closet, staring at his tie collection. "Babe," I said, mid-kiss. "It's our anniversary-eve!"
He laughed - at me, really - and indulged me with an exasperated, "Yes, it is."
I know boys don't get excited over anniversaries and little landmarks in relationships. And I don't force him to celebrating arbitrary milestones; our first time, the first time we said our I Love Yous, the first time I did his laundry, the first time he brought me coffee, etcetera, etcetera. Though I'm sure I could dig through my archives here and find those very dates. Because those? Those just don't seem as substantial as this, three hundred and sixty five days of being an "us." I didn't expect it.
I didn't think he was a relationship guy. When I accepted his invitation for a date, I was expecting just that: A date. A casual relationship. I wasn't expecting one day to roll into the next, until we looked back and saw that we'd become inseparable. I wasn't expecting to love him this much, I wasn't expecting him to love me back as much as I love him. It was an awesome surprise, and I'm looking forward to celebrating that.
So, tomorrow night, when normal people are out just having dinner and maybe a drink or two, I will be gazing adoringly at my boyfriend over the table, smiling and grinning and batting my eyelashes like it was our first date all over again, all the while wondering how I got so damn lucky.
Luck, and love, like this must run in my family.