Christopher, when we were first dating, riding in cars together, my fingers running through the back of your hair (What was I thinking? I barely knew you!), you amazed me. You were the quirkiest boy I’d ever met . You said things like, “Let’s just be cozy and watch a movie.”
Cozy? What 23 year old boy says, Let’s just be cozy? You still do.
So does your son. The other day, with new friends playing in the sprinkler, I wrapped August up in a towel and he smile wide up at me, said: “Mama, I love being cozy in this towel.” My new friend laughed. “I’ve never heard a little boy talk about being cozy,” she said.
Of course our little boy does. Saturday afternoons, you gather him up on the couch, both of you looking at your own books, until you both fall asleep snuggled under soft blankets. You both call it “being cozy.”
When we were dating, you whispered a secret on a late summer night at your grandparent’s 50th anniversary weekend. We were snuggling in an outdoor lounge chair, under bright stars on the Chesapeake Bay, speaking serious words. You told me you loved me. And then, about the yellow middle school track shirt you had determined in 8th grade would one day be given to your wife. Why that shirt? I can’t remember: it’s coziness, I’m sure.
What is the moment when two people fall in love? That first weekend we dated and the snow and cuddle on the couch after and my bloody nose the moment we first held hands? I laughed and screamed and ran for the bathroom, hysterical and horrified. But you followed me, stood beside me in the bathroom while I held that bloody kleenex to my face. Well, I said, might as well get to know the real me. And you did.
The Real Me has been exposed many more times, in the ugliest of ways, I’m afraid. And still, even after the bloody nose, even after the nasty fighting words, even after my selfish demands and my passive aggressive dealings, you kiss me like you did that night. You always mean it.
When is the moment two people fall in love? When we held hands, dressed up, seeing Les Mis in the Great Big City? That first fight when you got us lost and cursed and the flock of geese landed on the road in front of us? (And I learned to be in charge of the map figuring.) When we moved into that tiny apartment in Devon and made every meal together at 8 pm? When we walked around Valley Forge and prayed about who we were going to be, what God was going to make us? Both hospital rooms on separate coasts where each of our boys appeared on the earth?
When does love happen? In the bathroom in the mornings, both of us leaning into those tiny mirrors and tiny sinks we shared all those years? At the table, taking food to our lips, speaking normal words? Laughing on the couch, you tickling me even though I Hate Being Tickled?
When did I fall in love with you today? That’s the better question, isn’t it? When you kissed those boys, unable to stop whispering secrets in their ears?
A couple of weeks ago we were talking about the vacation we’ll take together in the fall, just us without the kids. You said, Just think! We’ll finally get to talk about really important, deep things.
I laughed. That’s all we do talk about, babe. What we’ll actually do is sit and drink a whole cup of coffee together and not get up. We’ll sit together long enough that we’ll run out of kid talk and theology talk and we’ll finally talk about nothing at all. And that will be the best part.
Until then, my dear … Happy eight years.
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