Sunday, February 8, 2009

For Better or Worse

Not everyone is aware that both the Hub and I had previous young marriages. I met my 1st husband in Oct. of my senior year of high school when I was 17, Hub met his 1st wife in college. Shortly after I started dating my 1st, he introduced me to current hub - they were friends. We're talking 1980 - so we've been friends a long time. We both were married in 1985, I was 22 - he was 23. He & his first got intentionally pregnant on their honeymoon, having my stepedaughter 9 months later. They split in October of '87, when their daughter was just over a year old, thier split was mutually agreed on, and started out amicably enough. I left my ex in January of '88, much to his chagrin. He had issues that led to him getting abusive with me, so our split did not start amicable at all - beginning with me fleeing late at night with a hunk of my hair missing. The Hub & I had always been friends, always very fond of each other. Shortly after I met him I set him up with my BFF, and they dated for a few months. He's in my wedding pictures -my first wedding :) After our failed marriages we found ourselves in the same boat, at the same time and quickly got serious. When I remember our first year together the word enthralled comes to mind, but such an emotional roller coaster. As happy as we were together, the divorces were truly awful, mine went from contentious to amicable, his from amicable to contentious - all that pain, at the same time so delighted with each other. I will forever be grateful my 1st marriage yielded no kids, and just as grateful that his did. Not only did I get my beautiful, brilliant stepdaughter out of the deal, I got a window into the man her father is, the kind of father he is. No one ever thought I would have kids, and I don't think I would have if I hadn't had the guarantee that my child would have such a dad, that I would have a parenting partner like him.

We were seasoned divorcee's now, happy to be done with those ill-matched marriages - and found in each other truly compatable partners. We were together a year before we moved in together. Neither of us could think of a single reason to get married ever again, we could be together and committed without that treacherous legal certificate straining our bond! We were ever so careful, if we purchased something we announced to whom it would belong to when we split up. We would never fight over who get's this vase or that crystal bowl! A few years into our relationship we realized we were seriously co-mingling our belongings - his plant in my pot, my picture in his frame......this was getting complicated!

Years later Stephen was living in California, had been living there for 10 months, with me trying to decide what to do, flying back and forth. I sold my business, and headed out for a few weeks break, enjoying the late summer in beautiful Northern California, contemplating my future. Shortly after I returned home it became quite clear - I was pregnant. I booked a flight back right away - that's not news for the phone! We went to dinner at our favorite oceanside restaurant, I told him I was pregnant and he said "we should get married, I have amazing insurance." Get married we did, and we soon learned how amazing his insurance was when our little pumpkin was born 6 weeks early and spent a week in neonatal intensive care. $36,000.00 in medical bills and we didn't pay a dime. Right there our marriage had paid off in spades. That week in the hospital I was at that baby's side every 3 hours to feed him - and I'd been in labor for 3 looong days - so I was a bit of a mess. But the hub was right there with me, through every minute of my labor, my 3 1/2 hours of pushing - and while I kept vigil over that sick baby he watched over me. He gave me my meds, he made my sitz bath's and led me to them - and he hired a housekeeper while we were still in the hospital. I knew then, almost 16 years ago, that I had a real partner, unconditional devotion, love and care that came endlessly and always. I thought then that we had surely gone through the toughest of things, and in our own ways and as a couple we had shined.

And now this. From that first doctor's appointment for my doc to confirm, "yep, it's a lump - you need a mammogram" to scans, biopsy's, consultations, surgery, emergency doctor's visits - he's been right by my side. He's driven the kid everywhere, he's driven carpool, he's been to 3 pharmacies 10 times, he's cooked, cleaned, kept the dishes caught up and done laundry. He's cleaned and doctored my wounds, "stripped" the evil drain, bathed me, washed my hair, listened to me rant, rave & cry. He tells me to "stop that" when I start doing something I'm not ready for, makes me rest - absolutely anything and everything, I know will get done. I don't have to do anything at all and our world will still keep going round and round. We may have gotten married for the insurance, but what I really got from those I Do's is immeasurable and forever. I am grateful for so many things, nothing as much as having him by my side, til death do us part.

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