We’ve been married 17 years.
I wish I had a memory to share for each year but they all kind of blur into this long reality that is: I’ve been with Charlie longer than I’ve been without him.
We met when I was 19. So now, at 41, I’ve been with him longer than I was ever without him. The majority of my social circle doesn’t know me before Charlie and those who do barely remember me when he wasn’t reflecting me.
He’s like a mirror. He shows me the very best of myself and, when necessary, the rough edges and dirty parts, too. He expects more of me and because he does, I expect more of myself.
|Those are some sweet $200 sunglasses, folks.|
When I describe him to people who don’t know him, I say he’s the coolest guy I know. I say whenever I’m doing anything I wish he was there participating and that when he’s not, I can’t wait to tell him about it.
I remember a few things about the start: the a/c was broken in the church and it was late July in Upstate South Carolina and those out of state visitors were stunned by how crazy hot it was.
We moved to Charlotte that summer and were out of work, but we only stayed three days on our honeymoon at Myrtle Beach because we couldn’t afford to stay any longer. The hotel was beachfront, our room was oceanfront, but we had to check the remote control out at the front desk. We carried the cooler upstairs and watched the end of the NASCAR race while drinking beer. We didn’t have medical insurance. We waited tables.
I remember a few things about the middle: we moved to Easley because our best friend Michael asked us to. We loved that little starter house. We bought whatever meat was on sale and then flipped open How to Cook Everything to figure out what to do with it.
We hit happy hour two or three times a week even after Hollie was born, carrying her with us to sports bars and pool halls and patios.
|That's one SERIOUS hangover.|
I remember a lot of the latest: we share pride in Hollie over some of the same things (man, that kid is cool) and some different things, those things that remind us of ourselves and each other. We enjoy Sundays, our neighbors, and the country club. We worry about politics and bills and where our careers are headed.
We spend time together on the golf course, listening to live music, and in restaurants. There have always been restaurants. And we get frustrated and we get sad and we get excited and we get hopeful.
We’re teammates. Above all. We win together and we lose together.
We’ve been in this thing together 17 years. And there’s no one I’d rather have in this boat with me.
I love you, Charlie. Here’s to 17 more.