So this is 20…

I had no intention of writing anything today.  But sometimes things just mysteriously come together.

I’ve been married for 20 years today. 20 years.  2 decades.  My husband said, “Wow. 240 months. 20 Christmases. 20 Thanksgivings.”  Sometimes it feels like 5 years and other times it feels like 30.  Such is the nature of marriage and of time.

I once told my parents (after much self-examination) that I was just not “marriage material”.  I was 21.  I didn’t want to get married. Ever.  I was not the marrying type.  I just did not feel like ‘that‘ type of girl.  The permanency scared me.  The necessary compromising offended me.  The lack of control over who the other person becomes and who you yourself may become sickened me. It just seemed like a real stupid risk.  Unfortunately, I announced this to my parents on a morning that they were rushing out to a breakfast and they wouldn’t even let me come with them.  I felt abandoned.  Unbeknownst to me, they were having breakfast with my boyfriend who was on a mission to ‘ask for my hand’ and ‘get their blessing’.

They said, “No.”

HAHAHAHA!  Have you ever heard of that happening in real life?  Me neither.  They said, “No” to my earnest, optimistic, 22 year old boyfriend.  They thought we were too young.  (we were) They thought we were not ready.  (we weren’t) They thought their daughter was at home in a pool of her own tears and wallowing in some self made melodrama about how she was not a marrying type of girl. (I was) Some months passed.  There was a lot of crying.  blah. blah. blah.

My husband persevered.  He is very tenacious. We got engaged. We got married.


pictured above (clueless people with immature pre-frontal cortexes)

I can boil it down to 2 simple reasons why I married him.

The man never gives up on becoming better.  He is relentless.  I knew that he would never give up on me, on us, on himself. I thought that would prove to be a useful and necessary trait if you were going to put up with the likes of me.  I think it is still a valuable quality to have.  It has served our family well.

The other reason is a two-word comment he made in the car to me when we were dating.  We were talking about something (nothing of note) and he locked eyes with me and smiled and said, “Cute brain.”

I had never had anyone say anything so amazing to me before those two words or ever since. Cute brain.  It struck a chord in me and has stayed with me.  That guy knows how to close the deal.

He just gets me.

For the sake of transparency, I would like to say-It hasn’t been a perfect 20 years.  Far from it.  We have had our challenges.  We have made some colossal mistakes. We have had our disagreements.  If we had followed the asinine “don’t go to bed angry” advice, we would both have died from insomnia in 2004. Goodness, that was a bad year. The beauty of staying together is that we made it past 2004.  It’s far in the rear view mirror now and that is a blessing.

The traditional 20 year gift is China and the modern 20 year gift is Platinum.  Please no.  First, if one more dish makes its way into this house my husband will go insane in the 21st year of marriage.

A platinum something? Nope.  No platinum knick knacks shall enter into this house.  No more objet of any kind.  Nothing on a shelf. Clutter kills.

We have had some memorable and disastrous gift exchanges over the years. One of the first years we were married he gave me a gift that he wrapped up inside a box for an Oster blender.

The problem is, it was an actual blender.

It was Christmas and I kept repeating, “Oh. It is a blender. An actual blender.  You gave me a blender. Blender. You thought of me and you thought ‘b l e n d e r”.  It was an awkward moment for the rest of the family. He said (bewildered) “But you SAID you wanted a blender someday.”   I did say that.  Aaaand that is the last appliance I ever received as a gift.

One year we just blindly gave the other what we like.  He prefers experiences.  I prefer something to mark the occasion that I can hold on to, pass down, potentially store in the basement for all eternity.  I gave him a book.  He doesn’t care for books. He gave me tickets to a concert.  I can’t remember what concert.   We both opened our gifts and felt, “meh”-we should have swapped them.

We had talked about going to see the jeweler that made our wedding rings.  He is a darling semi-retired man with a tiny office in the Medical Arts Building in downtown Minneapolis.  We talked about picking out an anniversary band to mark 20 years.  I like this idea.  It marks the occasion.  I can pass it on to my children.  It has symbolic meaning.

Today I got a voicemail from my husband.  This is what prompted me to write this all down. The voicemail was in the middle of the day while he drove four hours roundtrip for a meeting.  He said, “….Also, I think we should go meet with the jeweler.  I’m kind of waiting on you to tell me when you are free to go…Also, I was thinking..not sure…maybe it’s dorky or dumb but…What about a new front door?  It might be kind of dumb. I just know it’s something you talked about and it would kind of be fun down the road to you know…say we put that in for our 20 year anniversary.   I know it’s just one step away from something to plug into the wall but…let me know.”

I welled up.  Real heartfelt tears.  See…I hate my front door.  I would love a new front door.  YES.   I’m in love with this idea. It is symbolic.  It will last.  We are here to stay.  We are only just 20 years into building something to last.

He just gets me.  That is the best gift of all.

May is the cruelest month. May.

It’s May Day. Happy Stupid May Day!  May Day is for celebrating the hope and renewal of spring.  Don’t leave me a May basket because my only hope is that this month passes as quickly as possible.  I don’t like this May person I have become.

Let me tell you, I have become something I never thought I would become.

I’m a cheerleader.

I know.  Few things are sadder than the image of a 43-year-old woman who checks off “three live births” on an intake form at the doctor’s office being a cheerleader.  But I am one.  An old, weathered, discouraged cheerleader who (I have been told) does not drink anywhere near enough for this job.

I’m in charge of keeping morale high high high and shorts long long long.

I’m in charge of rallying the players when they lose focus or turn on each other.

I’m in charge of getting the whole team and sideline spectators to retain their enthusiasm.

I need to smile and have good hair. All the time. Nobody wants a haggard, negative, nochancewearegoingtomakeit cheerleader.

Normally this cheerleading gig, it doesn’t bother me too much.  I’m actually pretty energetic about it. But I hate May.  Seriously.

May needs to take a long walk off a short pier. All the months are my favorite next to May.

rah. rah. rah. 

Some of my cheerleading is coaxing, encouraging, suggesting, begging them to do ALL OF THE NORMAL THINGS that I am supposed to get them to do. And I am supposed to do it in a nice way. rah.

(cue sing song voice that I don’t wear well) “Let’s pick up all of our nice things.  We treat our toys with respect.”  In other words, if I step on this Spider Man Super Hero Smasher one more time I am going burn it in the fire pit when you are at school.

“Let’s eat our vegetables so you will grow up healthy and be able to learn all the wonderful things at school.”  In other words, I can’t even believe you grow at all since most of your calories involve drinking things out of pouches and a rotation of 3 other foods.  I made it. Just eat it. If you don’t eat it now, you’ll have to bring it in the car.  I don’t want to bring a fajita in the car.

“Let’s get that homework done.  We have come this far. Don’t give up now.”  In other words, I have literally spent DAYS cheering you on this far.  If you give up, I will end you.  We are NOT throwing in the towel now-we are closing in on the final seconds of this season. Stare at the polynomials.

“Let’s just somehow get through the week so we can just sit down this weekend for a minute.” This one is for my husband.  It’s literal.

It’s a tough business…cheerleading in May.  My pom pom muscles are weary now, my voice hoarse and May could use a good high kick to the face. In addition to all the standard things,  are things unique to this month.

(continuing with my ironic sports reference)

My team this year has got their issues.  I’m not going to comment directly on specific player personality issues since I’m just the cheerleader (I was just given this team to root for-I didn’t hand pick them in a draft) but here are a few of my key players and you can draw your own conclusions.  I have a 13 year old girl finishing off the 8th grade.  I have an 11 year old boy finishing off the 5th grade. I have a 6 year old boy finishing off Kindergarten. Yeah. It’s an eclectic mix. We aren’t really unified right now as a team. They all think they are free agents.

Apparently because of my diverse team, it means a deluge of testing (requiring eggs for breakfast?), fieldtrips, celebrations, graduations, year end gifts/cards, spring sport practices/games, activity pictures (which is so stupid as I have documented nearly every waking day of their lives-do I need a picture holding a soccer ball in front of a fake ominous cloud backdrop?),  school choir/orchestra concerts, extra before and after school ‘opportunities’ and mandatory meetings for high school transition, middle school transition, activities in the fall that I have not yet signed up or paid for yet.  These all have to take place in 30 days? Why? Why?

I take that back.  I want the soccer magnet.  The tiny cleats.  The mini shin guards. I need it.  But why for the love of everything do we take the pictures in May?

Oh and my anniversary is in May.  Oh and Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day which coincides with the fishing opener 21 out of 25 years here in MN.  I’d like to speak to the man who made that decision. I’m betting he is single.

This team is getting tired.  They are ready for the off-season.  And they are so sick of my loud, incessantly determined occasionally cheerful  ‘YOU’VE GOT THIS” voice. I’m sick of it.

I say, “Go!”  They say, “NO!”  Or  “Why?” Or “Now?” (with eye roll)

Go. NO. Go. NO. Go. NO. (you get the picture)

They like summer me.  I like summer me.  Let’s just sleep in and drink lemonade and go to the beach and listen to the birds and have ice cream and play badminton in the backyard and see how the day unfolds.  That is the best me. I miss her. She can be fun. She never is screaming, “YOU HAVE FOUR MINUTES TO GET YOUR BUTT IN THE CAR!”

I just found out on May 21st our family is supposed to be in five different places at the same time.  I want to vomit.

rah rah rah.

It’s the end of the school year and I know it’s spring and May flowers (oh yeah…I should put in some flowers)  and all that crap but I feel like I’m doing an army crawl, in the mud under the barbed wire, with all 3 of them on my back and we are draaaaaging ourselves to June 8th.

Wait, that was a military metaphor.  Mayday. Mayday.  See.  A distress signal.

Ok-back to sports.  I feel like we are doing one of those amazing teetering cheerleading pyramids.  Except it’s upside down, and I’m the single cheerleader on the bottom and I’m holding all of them up and their ripped end-of-the-year-getting-too-small-tennis-shoes are precariously balanced on my head.  And I’m supposed to be smiling.  With good hair. Full of hope.

June. Sweet June.  I’m going to do a double back flip in my shortest skirt and french kiss you when I get to you.





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