Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The first time I met Ron, he was wearing faded jeans with holes in the knees, a white t-shirt, an unbottoned blue and plaid flannel shirt over it (that is now mine), and a pair of boots he'd owned since he was 13. His hair was long and curly, and the moment I saw him, I knew he was the one for me.
But he had a girlfriend. And he lived in Connecticut, whereas I lived in southern Virginia. Still, I told my father the next morning, "I met the guy I'm going to marry." In typical Dad fashion, he replied, "You're never going to get married. You're too fickle."
And I was . . . up until that point. I'd been the Baby Bear of casual dating: that one's too tall, too short, too blond, too blue.
It's not that I thought Ron was perfect. Okay, so maybe I did. Maybe in the flush and rush of new-found awe and attraction, I couldn't find a thing wrong with him. Except that he wore socks with Birkenstocks. (Birkenstocks alone weren't enough to make me question his perfection.) And his two front teeth are chipped from one childhood fall or another. And he showed up late to our first date so he could replace the grill on his Rabbit.
More importantly at that stage in my life, though, Ron had no complaints about me. He thought I was cute and sexy (siblings, cover your ears). He thought I was smart and funny and sweet. He thought I was a good writer (which is a good thing since we dated long distance prior to the days of easy email access). Within three months from the time we started dating, we were engaged. Another three and half months and we were married.
I've told him many times he "saved" me. And I mean it. The night he proposed, I cried because I couldn't believe someone wanted to spend forever with me--a girl whose last boyfriend loathed all three years we'd spent together, and taught me to loathe myself along the way.
And since then--the proposal, the wedding--I've grown from someone who revels in being loved and accepted to someone who revels in loving and accepting.
I still think Ron is perfect, at least in more ways than I am. He's patient. He's long-suffering (I've taught him that). He's kind. He's all but impossible to offend. He's thoughtful. He's supportive and encouraging but he also tells me when I'm flat-out wrong. He's affectionate. He's expressive. He's good-looking, sexy (siblings, cover your ears). And he's a loving, attentive father.
And I'm still amazed that he, of all people, wants to be with me forever.
Last night, my five-year-old asked how old Ron would be today. I said, "29." He said, his voice soft with awe, "Wow. And then 100?"
Happy 42nd birthday, Ron. I love you more now than when you were 29, but not as much as I will when we're 100.