Thirty-six years ago today, one of the most special people in the world to me was born. At the time, I had no idea she existed. Of course, at the time, I was not even here. For 20 years, we were oblivious to each other’s existence. She lived in Birmingham at a time when My Dad and I were repeatedly traveling through the city. We may have ridden in cars side by side down the interstate and not even known it.
We met at The University of North Alabama in Florence while eating lunch or dinner (I can’t remember which) at Harold and Annelle Comer’s home. She was beautiful and I was smitten. However, she was still pretty much oblivious to my existence. So, I became a pest. Finally, I got up the nerve to ask her out. She was doing her nails or something like that and couldn’t make it. I was not to be so easily put off. Finally, we went out on a date. Then another. Then another.
I regret to say we were one of those couples who couldn’t decide if we were actually going to keep going out or not. She broke up with me a couple of times, but I kept pulling her back in. Finally, we hit a point where it all just clicked.
I regret that I was a loser when it came to proposing. I heard a friend talk about renting a limo and taking his girlfriend out on a great date when he proposed. I wish that could be my story. Instead, I was working on all kinds of plans to make my proposal a wonderful Valentine’s present back in 1995. However, I was carrying the ring in my pocket (big mistake) when we pulled into the Chinese buffet for lunch. There we were, parked in the back of this cheap Chinese buffet, parked next to the dumpster no less, the ring burning a hole in my pocket and I blurted out, “Do you want your Valentine’s present?” “Sure,” she said. Out came the ring and a mumbled proposal. I wish I had asked her dad’s permission first. But not only was I a bumbler, I wasn’t as respectful as I should be. Fortunately, he wasn’t too mad about it.
The hassle and wait for a big wedding was just too much. So, we had a small family affair on April 15, 1995. I had finally caught her. HAH! I wish I could say I’ve been a stellar husband for the last 14 years. The truth is, not so much. Because of my total lack of stellarness, we’ve had some rocky days. I’m sure she’s wondered over and over again how on earth she got stuck with me when she could have ended up with so many better guys. But what I appreciate most about her is she didn’t simply get stuck with me, she has stuck with me. Even when I’ve had to apologize for really big blunders, she’s always been there. Most of the time she even says she respects me–go figure.
Thanks to her, I have four wonderful, healthy children. She does most of the raising. She does a great job. She keeps us fed. She keeps us clothed. She keeps sheets on the bed. She keeps us comfortable in our home. She’s a melancholy, so she never thinks she does a great job at any of this and doesn’t believe me when I say it, but she is awesome at all of it.
Today is my springboard for the family day. Maybe this isn’t much of a springboard for you and your family, but I just couldn’t help but give a shout out to the biggest springboard in my family and in my life.
Marita, thank you for marrying me. Thank you for staying with me. I look forward to growing old with you.
If You Need a Real Springboard, Here It Is
For those looking for a real springboard for your marriage, here it is. Never let a blog post count as your birthday gift to your wife.