This past Saturday marked forty years since I went out on a blind date with my husband. Like this year, it was a Saturday night. I had had a blind date the night before, and when my sister and her friend called to ask if I would go out with him, at first I said no. They pushed, told me I'd really like him, and I gave in.
He called me at the dorm, and after saying hello said something that I now know is very uncharacteristic for him: "Let's boogie!" Ooooo-kay, I thought. He was a half-hour late. But he was the cutest thing in the lobby that night so I put my anger aside.
We had a few dates over the fall semester but I was dating someone else too. My husband's hometown was twenty minutes away from mine while the other guy's was four hours away. That short distance proved to be an advantage for my husband over the Christmas holiday and when I got back, I broke up with the other guy.
He gave me Fleetwood Mac's "Bare Trees" album for Christmas.
We dated and then lived together for the next seven years. When he took a job in my hometown, I said that we would need to get married to stay together. So that's what we did. And now it's forty years and three beautiful daughters later. BAM!
We are almost complete opposites, but it all comes together in a very complementary way. When I panic, he's cool as a cucumber. When he looks on the dark side, I shine a light. He's suave in a crowd while I'm self-conscious. He's quick to see someone as shy and leave them alone while I see a shy person as a book to be opened. With our daughters, he helped me loosen the reins when I wanted to pull in. I like to get all the news from them while he just lets them know he's thinking about them and loves them. He sings and plays instruments, I'm a great groupie.
In some ways we're more alike than we used to be. He used to be the daring one, but once I realized that there are more ways than one to have courage, I realized that I am daring too. I majored in history and political science and now he's a nut about how the past and politics form the present. We both love being on the water and riding bikes. We work together. We love to travel, even just for the day.
I'll say this now: It hasn't been easy. There have been times when one or the other drove or walked away "for good" or said words that the other thought they would never forget. There have been lean times and family crises and grief and all the things that people experience in this life.
For exactly two-thirds of my life, we have stayed together. And though I'm not sure exactly what he meant when he said, "Let's boogie" that night, I do know that the past forty years have been a dance. Thank you, Amanda and Vicki, for insisting I go on that blind date. You were right on the money: I like him alot.