Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Greatest Love

This is a post from 12/2008, but it's as true as ever today:

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.


Shannon O'Donnell said...

Okay, Jennie...that is just not cool! Here I am in English class, tears rolling down my cheeks, my students staring at me wondering who died. OMG! That was so beautiful. Thank you for re-posting it. :-)

anjie said...

I loves me some Jennie and Dave.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

P.S. I left you some sugar at my blog. :-)

chasing empty pavements said...

Hi Jennie! I came here on the recommendation of Shannon and I'm so glad she said we had to visit you! This was so beautiful..I have goosebumps...goosebumps!!!!! Thanks for sharing this with us, its always refreshing to hear true love stories!

Nisa said...

This was so beautiful! So glad Shannon gave you a bloggy award and recommended a visit! Following now!

Jennie Englund said...

Thanks for sharing that love story, everyone.

It hasn't all been perfect (the hardship will make another post), but somehow things have worked out.

Elana Johnson said...

Aw, I love this. So sweet. Many more years of happiness to you!

krn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
krn said...

You, of anyone I know Jennie, deserve this kind of love and it's inspiring. I loved reading this. It's what I'm holding out for, even if it means holding out forever.:-) xoxo -kim

Catherine Denton said...

Beautiful post! Shannon sent me your way and I'm glad she did.
Winged Writer

Jennie Englund said...

Welcome, all you Shannon

Looking forward to peeking into your lives super soon.

Suzanne Young said...

!!! This is beautiful. And wow, other than having an amazing life, you're an amazing writer.

It made sigh. :-)