The summer of June, 1993 was a wonderful time for me. Having finished high school the year before this was the first real summer spent knowing I did not have to go back to school if I didn’t want to. I worked almost my entire high school career so working my job was no big deal. It would have been just another part of life had it not been for the friends I made at my job. One friend in particular made my job almost magical.
I will be the first to admit that I was never an upwardly mobile career oriented guy. I was, and am still pretty laid back in terms of my job and the whole career path thing. I was pretty content back then getting up each day and working my job without much care for the road my life would take. That’s not to say I did not have some plans for the future. My mind often wandered towards thinking about where I might be in 5 or ten years. I guess I was odd in the fact that I didn’t really party or hang out with the so-called fun crowd. I was also a late bloomer in that I wasn’t really interested in relationships with women. That’s not to say I didn’t have natural thoughts and desires but I just never actively pursued them. That’s why it was such a magical surprise that while doing my job I crossed paths with someone who piqued my interest at a very deep level.
When Laura and I met it was not love at first sight. On the contrary, it was more like a “do what I say and we will get along just fine” type of meeting. You see, we both worked at opposite ends of the daily schedule and as anyone that has worked in a restaurant environment can tell you, that amounts to almost two totally different jobs. They were similar, but altogether VERY different as well. I was making the transition from my time zone, nights, to her time zone, early mornings. This meant I was sort of invading her space. She was comfortable and commanded quite a bit of respect because of her knowledge of the job and skills at doing it. I was the new egg. That’s why I did my best to defer to her as I worked to get used to my new duties.
She was pleasant and fun to work with but she was older than I was and I was not much of a dating guy so it was a real surprise when she asked me if I wanted to go have dinner. She was wickedly smart and funny and I wanted to get to know her better so I accepted. Once again in a non-fairy-tale way, I can’t say we had everything in common. In fact, we were on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of movies we liked, activities we enjoyed, politics, and money matters and so on. We did have a lot in common in terms of our beliefs about religion, life and family and what it means to come from distressed homes. We both had similar uneasy childhoods so we shared that. Most importantly she has a huge heart and is a
wonderful mother. She brought a sparkle into my life that it is tough to describe. Her son Adam was a joy and being with them made me feel whole in a way I had not felt before. I fell for her and as the cliché’ goes, the rest is history.
All relationships suffer from high and low points. We have had our share. We are still together today 18 years later. She has given me support, nurturing, love attention and three beautiful children and not the least of which 18 years of her life that I can never thank her enough for. I am not the man I was 18 years ago. I am who I am today largely in part to her patience, understanding, love and guidance. I have never met anyone like her before and I am very happy to say, never since. She is my world, my universe, my rock and my love all rolled into one. She is everything to me.
Honey, when you read this know that I look forward to spending another 18 and more years with you. I have always tried to be a good man, father and husband. I could not do it without you. I love you more than words can express and am forever glad and grateful that you came into my life 18 years ago today. Happy anniversary darling.