May you live all the days of your life.- Jonathan Swift
Adventure Guy entered my life in a sea of red–red coveralls, red Converse high tops, and red dot stickers covering every exposed area of skin from face to hands. I’m sure you can see why it was love at first sight, or actually, why it wasn’t! I should mention in his defense, that this particular outfit was a part of the introductory event for the freshman orientation program we would be leading at our university. Adventure Guy was the co-leader of our group, and I was one of the counselors. Our group color? You guessed it, red. I was 19; he was 21. Sometimes I think we should have some sort of voiceover narration for our lives, something like, “See that guy in the red coveralls? He will be the father of your children.” At the time, I simply thought he was cute, and rather interesting, but there were no fireworks.
Fast forward a few months to our orientation group’s summer activities. My interest level had definitely increased as I got to know Adventure Guy better, learning more about his drive and ambition as well as a decided “cool” factor I, the proverbial good girl, was attracted to. During a trip to Dallas, I managed to finagle a spot next to Adventure Guy on the couch during a showing of Robocop and fell asleep on his shoulder. He tells me that was his, “hmmm, there could be something here” moment. It took me years after our marriage to admit to him that there was any engineering to that “chance” occurrence. But Robocop is still our movie, romantic I know!
We were both in summer school that year, and Adventure Guy summoned the nerve to call me up and ask me to go to a movie. Then his conscience kicked in, there being a “no consorting” rule for the freshman orientation program, and he called back to let me know one of his friends would be joining us. They picked me up;we went to the movie; they took me home. No rules were violated. I wasn’t sure what would happen next, but I was thrilled when he called and asked me to go to a concert on the 4th of July. He picked me up that evening–and brought along yet another friend, the eventual best man in our wedding. Even though we were still not out on a solo date, at least this time we weren’t pretending it wasn’t a date. We were making progress, and I’ve always counted the 4th of July as the anniversary of our dating. Two years later, we were on our honeymoon.
And, now, almost 20 year later, Adventure Guy is celebrating his 41st birthday. I don’t know of anyone else who more lives up to Swift’s challenge to truly live every day of our lives than he does. Adventure Guy skimps on nothing, not his work, not our marriage, not his parenting of our children, and not his desire to push himself to the limit. I admire him greatly for all these things. He makes my life both more challenging and more fulfilling than it would be without him. I thank him for pushing me out of my comfort zone at times (think scuba diving) and for understanding that there are just some things I will not ever do (think skydiving and marathon running). I thank him for being someone who’s not afraid to argue. We’re not the “hold it in” types, and there are often things we disagree on, sometimes rather heatedly. I have no problem articulating my position on various social issues because of our conversations. People often seem surprised that we disagree on a number of things but are still quite happily married. At least the poll workers seem surprised when we show up together and they have to look up our voter registrations in two different books! And while I have not lived up to his initial hopes that I would “see the light” and join him in his political party affiliation, I do hope, more than anything, that we’ve exceeded his expectations of what married life would be back when we jumped out into the unknown at 22 and 24.
Happy Birthday, Adventure Guy, and may you continue to live all the days of your life.