This is a photo of us when our son was 9 months old. Just three months after our three-year anniversary. Hard to believe that was in 1992. Seems just like yesterday.
Now, if you have been keeping up with the story thus far, you have probably picked up on how difficult our first few years of marriage had been. There is a lot of truth in that, and a lot more story then has been told, but rest assured, through most of it, I was at fault because of ill-conceived ideas of what marriage was supposed to be about.
Man, just look at that photo though. That was me in my Navy prime. That mustache, that hair cut, those glasses. Shesh, I really wonder what in the world she ever saw in me, considering all the problems we had.
In truth, there were some marvelous moments in their too. Moments where both of us had to rely on the other to make it through. Moments where our faith in God was about the only thing that kept us afloat (Navy pun intended). No matter how bad it got, we always seemed to fall back on that.
You see, she did see something in me. Something from before I left for the Navy. A sweet and gentle boy who wanted to do something great. Somewhere between boot camp and the end of my first deployment, that changed, and drastically so. I became what the Navy wanted, a military man.
Before I left, I was this geeky kid who loved his Saturday morning cartoons, video games, and goofy stuff like writing poetry and growing roses. I came back different, though. Fundamentally changed deep inside. There was a seriousness to me, because I thought that was what was required of me. And I brought that home.
I bought into the whole ‘man’s man’ idea, and harbored resentment toward her for some of the choices I made, and that resentment played out in our marriage. Bitterness, anger, and.. yeah, the list goes on.
What I didn’t know though, was that she somehow, beyond my ability to comprehend, she held onto the image she had fallen in love with. The goofy boy who loved being Tigger. And although it annoyed her when we were dating, I know she missed it (she has told me so).
Somewhere along the line, she guided me, or held my hand, or secretly plotted (probably that, she’s sneaky like that) and slowly started to bring me back. If you know us, you know our love for things like the Muppets and the Princess Bride, and other silliness. A lot of that has to do with how it helps us connect to a simpler time, when we were young and life hadn’t quite made us into adults.
These days, our date nights consist of walking through the bargain spot at Target looking for new coloring books or sitting on the couch watching something stupid (like Scrubs) just to get her to laugh because seriously, how does this not make anyone laugh?
And right now, I know she’s laughing.
Besides, every now and again, you have to allow yourself to be a kid.
And that was a lesson I had to learn the hard way.