Years back, Jason gave me a little heart filled with scrolls that listed things he loved about me. It was a Valentine’s gift, and remains one of my favorite gifts to this day. Today is our 20th anniversary, and I’m going to do the same. Twenty things I love about this person who’s been by my side for the last twenty years.
- Jason is the most patient person I know, both with our kids and with me.
- He works tirelessly, and even more so when I’m so overwhelmed by what needs to be done that I curl up into my anxiety and become useless.
- He never berates me for that anxiety, or my depression, or my PTSD, or my agoraphobia. He just tries to help.
- He still loves silly childhood things, like peanut butter sandwiches and macaroni and the Muppets.
- He became a fan of the Cleveland Browns a decade ago, for no real reason except that they always lost, and he stayed a fan until they picked up a scummy guy who’d been dropped by the Chiefs after assaulting a woman. I love him for both his silly cheering for a losing team, and for sticking to his principles when that team let him down.
- I never know what kinds of gifts he’ll come up with, and he makes the best personalized gift decisions.
- He’d be a history professor or a kindergarten teacher if money were no object, and yet he keeps working his boring job for the money so that our family doesn’t have to work.
- If I caw at him, he caws back, and vice versa. He’ll sing a baseline from a particular hip hop song that neither of us knows, and I’ll sing him the next line. He remembers the “small-cano” and how ol’ New York was once New Hamster Dance. We have 20+ years of inside jokes and memories shared.
- He can improv like no one I’ve ever known, whether in song form or straight-out wit. He might claim he’s not the sharpest hammer in the dishwasher, but he is.
- Not only can he program in multiple coding languages and win just about any trivia contest, he can lay floors, install/fix plumbing, build furniture, replace doors and windows, and do most electrical work.
- He cooks for the family. Thank god.
- He gets excited about particular topics and spends ages researching, reading, and learning about them. The first time I saw him do this was early in our marriage, when he became obsessed with Nova Scotia. Hence me nicknaming his newest interest “his current Nova Scotia.”
- He’s the best tarot reader I know.
- At big gatherings, you’ll find him with the little kids, reading them books with crazy voices or getting involved in crazy games. Kids adore him, and he’s great with them.
- He’s always writing. Sometimes he writes novels that end up being over a million words long, with no intention to ever publish. He just likes to write.
- He loves learning languages and knows a little bit of a whole lot of them.
- Even if he’s not good at something, he keeps working at it. Even if he never gets good at it. He never gives up.
- He’s a spontaneous singer. Whatever’s in his head. Sometimes with new lyrics (see improv above).
- Dad jokes. All. The. Time.
- He’s sweet. He’ll rub my feet or scrub my back or buy me chocolate when he’s out running an errand. Little things to show he’s thinking about me.
Twenty years is a long time, and no twenty-year marriage hasn’t had its share of problems. But we take those conflicts and work with them, and weave them into the tapestry that is our life together and the home we make. We celebrate the good things, and the things we love together, and the things we share. We celebrate the ways we conquer the negatives in order to focus on the positives. Back when we first got married, our wedding reception invitations included a quote that we still hold true:
Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Happy anniversary, my love.