written March 18, 2013
Our first real date we flew a kite. And then after star-gazing on top of a building in downtown Abilene, he kissed me. That was a Monday night exactly 17 years ago. And I remember it like it was yesterday. It couldn’t have been a more perfect kiss.
Of course any girl would fall in love with a guy who reminded her of Joey from New Kids on the Block. Snap shirts, Docs, old Levi’s, beat up truck or ’74 BMW 2002. He made me swoon before I even knew his name. Ben.
When I first saw him in Moody Coliseum, he was singing in a chapel service. His voice was the sweetest thing I ever heard. Little did I know I’d listen to him sing lullaby’s to our babies.
We married almost a year and a half later. Of course our sin and neurosis make our relationship challenging. And some days those vows are the only thing holding us together. Marriage is a whole hell of a lot harder than I could have guessed. But even in the mess of it all, our mess, he refuses to settle for a charade. When I push him away he pulls me close. When I’m flailing he is my tether. And my heart still finds shelter. He chooses us again and again.
I love how he smells after playing or working outside. I love how he looked at me when I gave birth to our first-born. And I love how he sounds telling our kids their birth stories. He tells them, “Your Mom is super strong.” He makes the tastiest hodge-podge meals. He gives the best back scratches. I love how he told me in the beginning to kill my own dang spider. “I’m doing you a favor,” he said. He will watch and debrief Downton Abbey with me. He tells me to dance it out. He gets the Gospel. He’s learning our kids. He gives the most thoughtful Christmas gifts. He’s a walking dictionary when I don’t know how to spell it. We laugh at the goofiest things together. He suffers bravely. He taught me about true love. He helps me be free. He is the champion of my dreams.
One night we were finishing up some yard work and he remarked he was sorry his old, white work van was the vehicle sitting in our driveway. As if it was a symbol of what is rather than what could have been. I get that. I looked at it, I looked at him, my heart overflowing for him. My hard working, good man. It came tumbling out of me, “When I see your van, I think of the love that keeps you working your ass off for us day after day. That keeps you coming home when there are other places you could be. I actually like that van in our driveway and I don’t care what anyone thinks about it because I love the man who drives it.”
Sure his kisses sweep me off my feet. But his steady love wins my heart day after day.