Monday, February 14, 2011

My Love Story

Happy Valentine's Day.

I don't need big diamonds, fancy dinners, or weekend trips to romantic beaches (although I would not turn down any of these) to know how much my husband loves me. He shows me in a hundred different ways each day. Like when he makes a quick trip to the grocery store because he knows I hate grocery shopping. Or when he empties the dishwasher to surprise me. He has been the primary breadwinner in this household for nearly 27 years. Wait, I take that back. For three of those years, while he was in law school, I was. But I digress.

I know Valentine's Day is mostly inhabited by those of us in the throws of young, excited, blooming love. That is a wonderful time of life. I feel more deeply in love with David all the time, but it is not always that fluttering heart kind of love. It's a love that knows anger, heartbreak, hurt, sickness, depression, and pain. It's a love that has been forged in a fire of living. Raising three kids. Making dumb financial choices and having to dig ourselves out of it. Muddling along together as a team, as partners. The kind of love that "does not alter when alteration finds." (I hope I quoted that correctly. I'm too lazy to look it up right now. If you catch me in a mistake, please comment with a correction.)

So I feel compelled today to tell a little of the story of my love affair with David, the man I've loved for 33 years. (Yikes.) Just a little.

My first memory of David is from second grade. That's right. We grew up in the same tiny South Dakota town of Hot Springs. My first day of second grade, a new kid in school, I remember seeing him across the room. Then I don't remember him at all until sometime around middle school. Our families went to the same church, so we were in youth group together. He also played flute in band--poor little thing. He was not a very good flute player. And he had to compete with me!I remember jr. high youth group trips when he and his friend Doug Tinaglia would sit on the bus or the van or whatever we were in and recite Bill Cosby routines. (Reminds me of my son, Peter, who now does the same with today's comedians.) They would pull silly pranks in restaurants. And in general be typical middle school jerks.

Another good friend of David's was Al Twocrow. We were all in debate, band, and almost everything else together. When there's only 400 kids in your whole high school, everyone has to be in everything. So we knew each other very well before we ever dated. In sophomore biology class, I could tell David kind of liked me because he sat right behind me and he would tease me. How mature. But it worked. I took notice.

I remember our first date. It was a dance in the city auditorium. I had spent the day downhill skiing and was really tired and sore. Dancing was not really what I wanted to do. But we went. He was very nice and asked if it was okay if he danced with other girls since I was too tired. I said okay. But I really didn't want him to. Despite that rather lackluster beginning, we went to many more dances, movies, and whatever else one could find to do in Hot Springs--some of it not so wholesome.

We ended up being debate partners our junior and senior years. We made a really good team. And we won lots of tournaments. I think I first knew I loved David when we were at debate camp in Denver. Spending two solid weeks together, even if was in such an academic environment, was wonderful.

David and I have always liked to joke about who is smarter. I was a valedictorian of our high school class. I had straight A's. He had one B in all of high school --in shop class no less. I studied harder, but he probably was more genuinely brilliant. He became a National Merit Scholar.

We started out at separate colleges, but I ended up transferring to Carleton where he was. Yes, mostly because he was there. Sounds sappy and hopelessly romantic, but I've never been good at being apart from my other half. Carleton was a wonderful place where we got to be total academic geeks and theater nerds. We got married two weeks after graduation.

That was nearly 27 years ago. It's really unusual for high school sweethearts to still be married. Although I have to say, it is probably because David is a practical and reasonable person, while I am more ruled by my emotions. I wanted to get married after high school, but he wanted to wait. Obviously, he was right. Who knows if we would still be together had we married at 17 or 18? But here we are.

There is so much story that goes with our lives together, but the main one is this: I love David because he is an honorable, loving, kind, considerate, smart, and noble person. Heaven knows why he loves me. I feel very lucky. He always has a comment to lighten the moment with humor, and that has made a huge impact on our lives. If we can laugh at ourselves and our situation, then we can probably get through it.

Happy Valentine's Day to my adorable, funny, loving husband.

1 comment:

  1. Very well said Neysa :) Those of us who married our dearest friend, and especially those of us lucky enough to find our other half so early in life, are blessed beyond measure. Chris and I have been together 20 years next month, so your story really tugs at my heartstrings. Congratulations on 33 years together....wishing you at least that many more!