Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Greatest Love -- Jennie

The first time I saw my husband, he was freckled and angular, with awkward elbows and twiggy legs, definitely not the hottest eight year-old on the swim team. There was something about him, though, so I asked him to join my friends and me in a water-balloon fight. He declined, coming up with some excuse about basketball practice.

Ten years later, on the pool deck, Dave asked me out. Most of his freckles had disappeared, his jaw had become even more strong and square, and his elbows seemed a lot less pointy. When he picked me up at my parents' house, his hair was plastered to the side of his forehead, and he smelled like Irish Spring soap. Clean.

That date--some crime-comedy, then French fries at Denny's--was maybe the worst I had ever been on. But when Dave drove back home really slowly, and kissed my cheek, that's when I fell for him. He was quiet, but sincere, and he had great hands.

We married young. It was a magical evening in September at a B&B in the mountains. People came and ate and danced, but they didn't think we were going to make it: I was in college, Dave was killing himself in construction during a recession, and we lived off dehydrated potatoes.

It was enough for us, though. After we both got through school, we moved to Oregon.

Last spring, we had a romantic little dinner at Cucina Biazzi. We had been only once, eleven years before. If our server had told us then that the next time we returned, we would have traveled the continent with our three kids, would have lost both of our moms to cancer, and would be a firefighter and college instructor, we never would have believed it.

Ours is a life built on nothing but love. It shouldn't have worked, really. Dave and I are different political parties, different spiritualities, and have different interests.

But the fundamentals are there: Dave provides stability, and I provide what he calls "the entertainment."

After slinging drywall mud all over town, putting out fires, and resuscitating stroke victims, Dave comes home to rescue me from the kids, from the cooking, from myself.

And when, like last night at his annual firefighting Christmas dinner, when he looks so good, with his sparkly eyes and his smooth head and the pink shirt he's not afraid to wear, when he stays by my side as I flutter around the room, when he whispers to me at the table, I fall in love all over again.

His station brothers ask me to spill the secrets they're sure he has. They tell me how much they respect him. He is the kind of man that men want to be, and the kind of man that women want to be with.

At this point, I can almost totally forgive Dave for leaving me standing in my green and gold bathing suit in the park thirty years ago, my arms filled with water balloons.

He holds my hand, and I'm the luckiest girl in the world.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful love story! thanks.
Carol (christy's mom)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words. I love you!


Christy Raedeke said...

I liked that he played hard to get at 8 years old - savvy!

Gorgeous photo and such a lovely story.

jennie said...

Carol, thanks for reading! I always look forward to your positive comments.

Babe, congrats on reading your first blog!

Christy, hilarious! Keep an eye out; Dave and I were Juliet's age when the whole thing started. You never know, it could be the kid who sits behind her in school, the one with the glasses and egg-yolk stains on his Polo shirt, who she'll end up with at the alter!

Anonymous said...

Sittin' at the middle school, crying into my keyboard....

Anonymous said...

Okay, this brought me to tears Jennie. You did it again dang it! Beautiful.

Patty P said...

Ahh, Jennie. What a nice story! It's so good to hear that two people still make time in their day for the little things that bring love.
Have a great holiday season...

jennie said...

Patty! So good hearing from you! What's your email address? I'd love to chat it up with you!

Julie and Kerrie, don't cry! It's happy! Smile! I love you!