I met Hubby (when he was Hubby-to-be) when I was 16 and he was 17. Over the years I've run into high school acquaintances who believe the term "high school sweethearts" only applied to 1950s movies. Over half of them will say incredulously, "You mean you're STILL married? To each other?"
My immediate reply is a smile and calm, "Yes". My second thought is, "And I can see why YOU'RE not married any more." The only time my polite, southern lady skills were challenged was when a girl from school exclaimed, almost in horror, "You're still on your FIRST husband?"
Uh, yeah. I kinda like him. Plan on keeping him for a long time.
The reason we still like each other after all these years may be because we virtually grew up together. We may not agree on everything, but that doesn't lead to (a) violent arguments (b) constant sniping (c) divorce or (d) a suggestion that someone needs to see a psychiatrist. Life is full of ups and downs. It's how you handle them together, as a team, that counts in the long run.
Which brings me to my birthday.
I've known this man for 38 years now. That's a lot of Christmases and Birthdays. Plus my birthday is only a few weeks after Christmas. As some of you know, the more of those holidays that go by, the harder it is to come up with creative gifts or personal surprises. If you've been reading here long, you know Hubby gave me a digital piano for Christmas. For my birthday, he found an antique piano stool, complete with those cool claw foot legs. I was thrilled and yet he said there was still one more surprise coming...and he wasn't happy when the original 4 day delivery was revised... to 12 days after my birthday. But it arrived yesterday, somewhere in the middle of that schedule.
Now this gift won't mean much to you. But it meant the world to me. Some of you may recall that we lost our oldest dog, Smokey, last year just before Christmas. He was closing in on 13 years old and I swear, he was smarter than some people I know. Smokey might've been Hubby's hunting buddy, but he was my "snuggle buddy" in the winter. He'd crawl up onto my love seat perch, curl up behind my legs, careful to keep my feet warm, then lay his chin on my knee. He'd sleep like that for hours and when the weather would warm, he'd start staying on the couch less and less, but it looked as if he hated that as much as I did. I still think the hardest thing for me after he died was facing a winter of having to use a mere quilted throw to keep my feet warm. I'd find myself sometimes staring at "his" spot, as if any minute Smokey would appear and I'd be warm again. Inside and out.
Unlike Smokey, his son, Bou, didn't like to share the love seat. In fact, if he beat you to it and you dared to sit, he would glare at you as if to say, "Excuse me! I was here first". After Smokey died, we ended up getting leather furniture and Bou was no longer allowed to sit on the "people" stuff.
So when I came home yesterday, Hubby asked me to wait a moment, then told me to come into the living room. There, spread across my love seat was a cotton throw...with Smokey and Bou's photo on it. This one:
It's a photo I took for the annual Shop calendar, which I jokingly referred to as "The Family Photo". I always liked how Smokey appeared wise and all knowing while Bou looked like, "Well, can we go on a car ride NOW?"
As I walked around the couch to admire my gift, Hubby said the one thing that sealed his fate forever.
"Now when you sit on the love seat and your feet get cold, Smokey can still warm them up."
That's it. There's no way I'm ever letting that guy go.