Dan and I met on Valentine’s Day. Four hours later, I refused to go home with him, although I really wanted to. The next day, he texted me, “Good luck!” I forgot I’d even mentioned I had a job interview that day. A year later I nagged him about the wrinkled shirt he wore for our anniversary dinner.
It is has been seven years since we met, and I know better than to bug him about his shirt. I just iron something in advance and leave it out, or better yet, make sure one of his wrinkle resistant shirts is clean. Though I love him dearly, our relationship has evolved over time. I know this is normal, but sometimes I feel a pang of nostalgia for the past…
Then: I was nervous because I was practically 30 and Mr. Right still hadn’t shown up. I had no Valentine’s Day plans, but at the last minute, my roommate invited me to a bar downtown. There, I met the love of my life. A few interminable days later, we had our first official date. His touch was electrifying. I was totally smitten, floating on a cloud. I’d known him just a few days, and though I was drunk when we met, I knew he was amazing.
Now(ish): I was bitchy because I was practically 42 weeks pregnant and the baby still hadn’t shown up. I had no Valentine’s Day plans, but at the last minute, I snagged a reservation at a restaurant downtown. There, I had the best salted caramel chocolate tart of my life. A few interminable days later, I had my first contraction. The pain was agonizing. I was totally exhausted, floating in the birth tub. Labor lasted more than an entire day, and though my husband took breaks to nap and eat Indian, he was amazing.
Then: Every Wednesday, he left work early to pick up his farm share at the farmer’s market. Often, he surprised me by showing up with a mason jar of fresh Gerber daisies along with a huge box of produce.
Now: Some Wednesdays, he leaves work early to pick up our farm share at the farmer’s market. Always, it surprises me how miserable it is to schlep a baby and toddler to pick up a huge box of produce.
Then: If we woke up at the same time in the middle of the night, to the sound of the wind howling, we would sometimes… you know.
Now: If we wake up at the same time in the middle of the night, to the sound of the baby howling, he sometimes goes in to check on her.
Then: He rode his bike everywhere when we were dating. I never minded that it took him longer to get to my apartment because it would give me time to dash out to buy a bottle of wine. I’d eagerly anticipate giving him a hug and a kiss.
Now: He rode his bike to a meeting when our basement flooded. I didn’t mind having the neighbor watch the kids while I dashed out to buy a Shop Vac. I eagerly anticipated giving him a turn to use our new appliance.
Then: I baked him a chocolate cake, and was shocked and a little hurt to discover he hadn’t even taken a bite, several days later. He told me he didn’t care for cake, but preferred pie.
Now: I bake chocolate cake, and I am shocked and a little hurt to discover he has had the last bite, several days later. He told me that cake has grown on him, though he still prefers pie.
Then: We went on a hike and returned to the car only to discover the car key escaped my pocket somewhere on the trail. Luckily, he left a spare key in the glove box. We waited hours in the rain for the locksmith to come, during which time we joked and talked. Eventually we got frustrated and wondered if the locksmith was ever going to come, but he finally arrived.
Now: We went on a cross-country road trip with our kids and returned home only to discover the iPad stand escaped our luggage somewhere on the trip. Luckily, he lost it, not me. We waited weeks for it to turn up, during which time I made passive aggressive, bitchy comments whenever I used the iPad. Eventually he got frustrated and told me to order a new one, and I finally did.
Then: I avoided farting in front of him, so I wouldn’t seem gross. I avoided becoming enraged about silly things in his presence. I wished to marry him and have his babies. I promised to read his favorite science fiction novel.
Now: He congratulates me on my grossest farts. When I become enraged about silly things, he calms me. I wish to share the rest of our lives together while we watch our babies grow up. I swear I’m going to read his favorite science fiction novel.
Yeah, I’m nostalgic for the past… but I wouldn’t trade the present for anything. The butterflies that came with that first text message are no match for the security of the “I love you” texts he sends me now. Plus, there’s a simple joy in hanging any shirt not labeled “wrinkle-resistant” at the very back of his closet.